Haliburton’s landscaping industry has formed a new group to raise its concerns about the impact of the County of Haliburton’s draft shoreline preservation bylaw.

The group of six landscape businesses presented at the committee of the whole meeting March 11. The contractors banded together specifically to raise their concerns with the bylaw, which would restrict development and activities within 30-metres of shorelines.

Michele Bromley of Boshkung Lake Tree Service said though the group is not opposed to the idea of the bylaw, it finds the draft lacking.

“The draft bylaw, as presented … in some areas is reaching beyond its original intent, and in other areas missing key factors that have significant impacts on the water quality of our lakes,” Bromley said, reading from a joint letter.

The group argued the 30-metre buffer is far too expansive and there also needs to be more action on the existing properties with damaged shorelines.

It also argued the permitting requirements will be too strict and there needs to be more leeway for smaller projects.

“Although appropriate for some major landscaping/site alteration projects, applying the same rigorous processes to any and all projects will literally assure the landscaping industry in Haliburton County and the economic benefit it provides for its many employees and other businesses will disappear in short order,” the group wrote.

The group also said the bylaw should be more comprehensive and the County should address things such as fertilizers, pesticides and road salt. Council members expressed appreciation for the input.

“This is clearly the type of input that we want. Written, clear, concise, the challenges that it appears to pose for you,” Coun. Brent Devolin said.

In a statement to The Highlander, the group said the broad scope of the bylaw made it sensible for similar stakeholders to work together and address parts of it pertaining to them.

“Many of the restrictions within the draft have direct impact on the landscaping industry and we felt it would be beneficial to assemble a group of likeminded individuals,” the group said. “We continue to work collaboratively with other groups and individuals to achieve the goal of fashioning a comprehensive and workable document for all.”

Bylaw review on hold

But those eager to see the County progress on its review of the bylaw will have to wait. The County put the review on hold indefinitely due to the coronavirus.

The municipality opted to change the agenda for its March 17 special meeting originally dedicated to the shoreline bylaw to instead address response to the pandemic.

“We understand there is a significant community interest about the draft by-law, with a large number of people planning to attend, and want to provide assurances that there will be extensive notice provided when we are once again able to conduct businesses as usual,” the County said in a press release.

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