In the ongoing tug-of-war over beach ownership and rights in Tiny Township, the municipality has managed to dig their toes in and plant their heels upon approval of an upcoming study.
Following various instances of conflict and actions over the years rergarding shoreilne management, the municipality requested staff to look into a shoreline management study this summer. Initial discussions resulted in the discovery that the Tiny shoreline is not like many others.
Public works director Tim Leitch provided an overview to Tiny council at a recent committee of the whole meeting.
“It is classified as dynamic,” revealed Leitch, “meaning that it is constantly changing with the sand movement and boulder movement, through different ice and varying water levels that impact our shoreline.”
Staff contacted Markham-based coastal engineering company Aqua Solutions 5 Inc. (AQ5) to conduct the study. Council approved the staff recommendation to sole source AQ5 to investigate and produce a report at $34,000 to come from parkland reserve funding.
AQ5 will look at the feasibility to implement regulations and standards for the management of the dynamic shoreline.
“As part of that,” Leitch explained, “we’ve got to do our homework and make sure that everything we’ve put in place is consistent with any legislation, any planning objectives that need to happen. It’s so that when we come to a conclusion, then we can develop what these bylaws may be and make sure it’s on sound ground and it’s on good coastal science.”
CAO Robert Lamb noted that in discussion with the regional office of the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, and Natural Resources and Forestry, the topic of Tiny developing municipal regulations was something of interest in enforcing policies between the two levels of government.
Lamb said, “I take that as a very good step forward; our ability to put something in place and our ability to actually enforce what’s been put in place.”
Coun. Cindy Hastings gave “two thumbs up” to the study as “an excellent framework” for the future council to make decisions. Coun. John Bryant was interested in the reasoning behind sole sourcing the study to AQ5, but was reminded by staff and council that it was an available option and that there was strong merit behind the choice.
Staff praised AQ5, noting that their team had extensive experience in working with dynamic shorelines in other municipalities, as well as helping to construct legislation specialized in dynamic shorelines. One AQ5 member, Karen Wianecki, had also assisted Tiny in developing the two previous strategic plans for the municipality.
Coun. Gibb Wishart took a harder stance at the possible legislation which could come from the study, asking staff about how much impact the municipality could achieve regarding shoreline infractions. Following staff’s response that the study would put the municipality in a good position, Wishart replied.
“That sounds wonderful, as long as the offender – the property owner – doesn’t say: ‘Well, Fisheries and Oceans Canada didn’t tell me that I couldn’t do that’.
“I desperately want you to have the upper hand – the stick so to speak – to say ‘thou shalt not’, because more people have screwed up our shoreline than you can imagine, and we need to stop them from doing it.”
Recently, a resident along West Shore Drive shared to council that they had erroneously altered the shoreline, claiming ignorance of DFO regulations.
The staff report for the management of dynamic shoreline with full summary by Aqua Solutions 5 Inc. can be viewed within the agenda page located on the Tiny Township website.
Archives of council meetings are available to view on Tiny Township’s YouTube channel.
Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, MidlandToday.ca