The fact Dysart et al has chosen not to buy into the shoreline preservation bylaw does not prevent the remaining lower-tier municipalities from adopting and enforcing it, director of planning, Steve Stone, told County council at its Feb. 22 meeting.

Referencing a legal opinion, he said if Algonquin Highlands, Highlands East and Minden Hills give the go-ahead to an amended bylaw, it would need to reflect the fact it’s not in full force throughout the County, but within the geographical jurisdiction of those lower-tier municipalities only.

The three townships will have to again delegate authority to the County to enforce the amended bylaw on their behalf.

Stone also outlined the financial impact. He said Minden Hills, with 4,984 shoreline lots, would have to pay 25.52 per cent of the cost, or $53,801.88 yearly.

Algonquin Highlands, with 4,186 shoreline lots, would be on the hook for 21.43 per cent, or $45,187.53, and Highlands East, with 3,453 shoreline lots, 17.68 per cent, or $37,274.85. Stone has estimated it will cost $136,264.26 in expenses, including one full-timer staffer, in the first 12 months.

He recommended they start with seven months of 2023, at a reduced cost of nearly $90,000, to be funded from reserves.

“Alternatively, each of the three participating townships could adopt the amended bylaw independently and implement it themselves in their own jurisdiction,” Stone said.

Coun. Bob Carter said they should be looking at fees and charges for 2024.

“If it’s $138,000 to run the program, we should be looking to recoup most if not all of that.”

Short-term rental talks continue

Possible short-term rental registration and licensing bylaws were back before County council Feb. 27.

After more than four hours of pouring through the proposed bylaws, and making some amendments, council did not ratify either.

Stone, director of economic development and tourism, Scott Ovell and CAO, Mike Rutter, took notes, including items that will require a legal opinion.

Carter said, “it would be nice to have the bylaws passed and get this well underway in this calendar year.”

Warden Liz Danielsen said it was taking a while but was one of the most important things the council was doing and they needed to get it right.

She also queried a discussion about whether the bylaws should live at the County or lower-tier level after Coun. Murray Fearrey had talked about the townships’ roles on the file. But Fearrey said he suspected it would be a hybrid model, with both bodies of government working together.

Council passed a resolution to receive the planning report, incorporate amendments, and direct staff to get a legal opinion.