Dysart et al has yet to table a draft site alteration bylaw, with council saying it wants to focus on education first.

Mayor Murray Fearrey called a special council meeting June 22, saying he believed public education was a “prerunner” to a bylaw. “I know staff have been putting some ideas together,” he added.

CAO Tamara Wilbee said they’d created Facebook posters and have a web page dedicated to shoreline health.

Fearrey suggested doing up a flyer with simple tips, such as how to restore a natural shoreline.

Chief building official, Karl Korpela, said staff are promoting the Ribbon of Life campaign, and Don’t P (Phosphorus) in the Lake, along with videos. He said they are “piggybacking” on available resources but, “once we get an actual bylaw in place, we can give actual information as to what’s required through the bylaw.”

Fearrey said the videos are “great” but, “just come out with something in plain English that says, ‘don’t run your eavestroughs directly into the lake’, ‘plant trees if you’ve taken trees out’.” He suggested a sheet go out with tax bills, get handed out by building and planning departments with permits, and given to lawyers and real estate agents.

Deputy mayor Walt McKecknie said he believed there was too much emphasis on only afew instances of clear-cutting. He added council was “going down the right path… there are going to be some people extremely happy, and some won’t be that happy, but we can listen after this policy has been passed and learn from it.”

Korpela: bylaw needed to protect wetlands

He added it’s about educating people not to clear-cut to the waterfront on new lots or fertilize lawns.

He added the septic re-inspection program is already contributing to better lake health. “I hope people will be patient with us and accept it.”

Coun. Barry Boice said he’s all for education but that doesn’t mean walking away from a bylaw. “Let’s keep an eye on things. If we have to readjust, then we readjust. We get the education part out there, we watch things, and see how it goes.

Coun. Carm Sawyer said based on his understanding of the Love Your Lake survey, the County’s lakes are “plateauing out… with some going up but most staying even… that’s proven that what we’ve been doing is working …”

Coun. Pat Casey said education was “95 per cent of the cure,” with there being other regulators, such as the Ministry of the Environment.

Fearrey said, “we need to do this ASAP to get it out, and then the bylaw will come after that.”

Casey asked if they could delay a bylaw until next year, after seeing how the public education campaign works, but Fearrey said, “I don’t know we can do nothing until next year but that will be council’s decision.”

Wilbee suggested a presentation to council in July on the education plan.

As for the bylaw itself, Korpela has a draft in progress but added, “I don’t have the vision yet, but hopefully I’ll get there shortly.”

Korpela said one of the biggest things he comes across is piles of dirt within the shoreline setback, affected by torrential rain and high winds. “Where is that sand going?”

He added, “we have the environmentallyprotected lands. We don’t allow anybody to build within the EP lands, but things like fill within the EP lands, those are things we can’t control at this time. They are not things that happen every day but it does happen. We need a bylaw to regulate something like that.”