Dysart council has deferred a decision over whether to delegate authority to the County to enforce the recently passed shoreline preservation bylaw in the community to the township’s next set of elected officials.
After a short presentation Sept. 27 by Steve Stone, the County’s director of planning, on the regulations included in the bylaw, many councillors said they felt uncomfortable making a decision given they still have questions over the final document.
Mayor Andrea Roberts said she’d received several emails calling on her to vote against delegating authority, but wasn’t sure what legal implications, if any, that may have.
“I think we should seek our own legal counsel to find out what it means if we do opt out. Can we even do that?” Roberts said. The outgoing mayor was one of two County officials to vote against the bylaw last month, alongside Dysart deputy Pat Kennedy.
Coun. John Smith said there were a few inconsistencies within the bylaw that concerned him.
“Schedule A outlines a shortlist of common shoreline alteration activities that are exempt from requiring a permit, but these do not apply to municipally-owned shore road allowances,” Smith said. “Am I right in thinking if I don’t own my shore road allowance, I won’t be allowed to do something as simple as weed my walkway in the future? That would be problematic.”
Stone said despite the wording in the bylaw, Smith would be permitted to weed his walkway.
Coun. Walt McKechnie said he wasn’t a fan of the bylaw, calling it confusing. “We’re just creating something here that’s bigger government and we don’t need it.”
Council directed staff to seek a legal opinion and bring the issue back once the community’s next council is in place.