August 20 Agenda items: Oliphant Beaches management plan; $300,000 hospitals grant request; Bruce Nuclear support request Craig Gammie 3-25

Agenda item 8.14 CLK84-2013 Town Rights on Lake Beds

Spring of 2010 or earlier access to Oliphant beaches discussion started, with residents raising concerns about unrestricted vehicular access, and other issues.

Sometime in 2011 posts were installed to restrict access.

In the September 18, 2012 Council meeting Councillor Turner made a report recommending that the posts be removed. In the report he indicated:

“Information provided by the OPP indicates that the town may hold liability should an accident result from the placement of posts, rocks and trenches.”

and

“This opinion is echoed by our town insurer.”

But when asked to provide evidence of this “information” from the OPP and the “information” from the “town’s insurer”, Mr. Turner could not. Mr. Turner claimed that the correspondence was only oral. I doubt that there was any such correspondence at all.

Also in the September 18, 2012 council meeting, Councillor Turner and Councillor McKenzie claimed that there was a petition to remove the posts signed by many Oliphant residents. But when asked to produce the signed petition for inspections and validity checks, Councillors Turner and McKenzie would not. I believe that the petition was invalid, if it even ever existed.

In spite of the misinformation presented to council, council resolved to remove the posts and the posts were removed and cars were once again on the beach with no restrictions.

In the August 6, 2013 council meeting concerns were again raised about cars on the Oliphant beach, and general lack of control, and council was asked to take action.

The clerk’s report CLK84-2013, in the August 20, 2013 agenda, is the response to the request for council action.

But instead of action, the Clerk’s report is a blueprint for inaction. The excuses for the inaction are the lamest I have heard yet.

Clerk report “Point 1” says:

“Perhaps the most important point is the fact that there is a land claim on the Lake Bed. As a general rule and in all other facets of governance, we do not make changes to the land nor do we give approval for others to make changes to lands which are subject to land claim ..”

Rubbish: The posts were put in while there were two relevant land claims. The posts were removed while there were two land claims. These were “changes”. To say that “we do not make changes to the land nor do we give approval for others to make changes to lands which are subject to land claim” is pure hypocrisy. It’s also ridiculous. Council’s role is to govern. You cannot let land claims halt the process of governance unless the courts say you must. And the courts, to my knowledge have not said that.

Clerk report Point 2 says:

The MNR has informed staff that ambulatory or riparian rights extend to those properties which border on bodies of water. ……. Our solicitor has indicated that the riparian rights are not automatic and that a deed must indicate that the property boundaries are subject to water level changes in order for the riparian rights to be established. As such, a title search of all shoreline properties would be required to establish the existence of riparian rights.

A reporting of what the MNR may have told staff and what the town’s solicitor may have indicated is totally useless hearsay. I do not believe that the MNR said what the Clerk says the MNR said. And the town’s solicitor has no credibility. Council and the public need to see a written report from the MNR and a written report from the solicitor so that council and the public can determine whether the Clerk is reporting accurately and so that council and the public can provide rebuttal arguments as warranted and necessary.

Until we see and review those reports, the clerk’s statements should be taken as unreliable.

Clerk report Point 3 says:

A survey would be required to establish property boundaries should riparian rights be established. In order for there to be rules and regulations established, it would be prudent to have boundaries within which the rules would be enforced. A survey would be a huge undertaking and would be subject to the results of the tile searches.

Riparian rights are not the issue. Riparian rights is a red herring. The issues are whether the Oliphant beach is in the geographical boundaries of the town of south bruce peninsula, and whether the TSBP has jurisdiction to govern the beach. And until someone demonstrates otherwise, the answers are “yes” and “yes”.

Clerk report Point 4 says:

With the current bylaw enforcement compliment, it would be very difficult to establish further beach areas which would require patrol and enforcement.

I believe the clerk is suggesting, by implication, that we should not make by-laws, no matter how necessary, if we haven’t got the staff to enforce them.

This is a ridiculous suggestion. By-laws should be made to protect the public interest. Patrol would be nice, but a by-law can be very effective without it. If there is an infraction citizens can call the by-laws officer, or call the police, or lay charges themselves.

And even if we had none of these enforcement avenues, the by-laws, and the access restrictions, and the signage would go a long way towards correcting the problems.

Insufficient by-laws officers is not a valid reason for inaction.

In her report the clerk presents two options.

Option 1 is to begin talks with Saugeen Ojibway First Nations, establish whether we have ownership and if we do proceed accordingly. This is a good thing to do sometime, but it is unnecessary for addressing the current concerns. And it’s already being done. And it would be a very lengthy and expensive process. It might be better expressed as the “delay option”.

Option 2 is to maintain the status quo. This would be unacceptable.

But the real problem with the Clerk’s report is that it omits an obvious third option, which is to put the posts and other control features back in to restrict vehicle access and to make an Oliphant dynamic beach bylaw to protect the public and the environment. In other words, manage the shore lands per the residents’ recommendation of August 6.

Agenda item 7.2 Bruce Peninsula Health Services Foundation, Richard Bouillon and Helen Thomson-Cancer Centre Priority Needs and Request for Funding Support

Like many requests for funding from the treasury, this one is for a very noble cause.

But the rule is that donations to charitable and similar organizations must be private decisions. The rule is that council should not be deciding that private citizens will donate, through property taxes, to charity, or to the hospitals. Such granting is Ultra Vires council’s authority.

Health care is provincial. Health care is provincially funded. The Health Services Foundation should be asking Bruce Walker (MPP), not council, for assistance.

Besides, there is some false information in the request.

The request for funding indicates:

The Ministry of Health does not fund routine capital expenditures and does not even recognize capital depreciation as a cost to the hospital.

This is false. The ministry absolutely does fund capital expenditures. It does not however fund every request. And if the ministry funds capital expenditures, that automatically recognizes depreciation.

The request for funding also implies that the town’s donation of $300,000 will boost the local economy. This is likely false. Taking another $300,000 out of the pockets of the residents is unlikely to boost the local economy, and could make it worse.

It is unfortunate, but council must decline the request.

Instead of granting the request Council should recommend that the delegation take their campaign directly to the residents, so that those residents who are in a position to support this noble cause, and who wish to support the noble cause, can do so of their own free will. Council members should feel free to contribute (their own money), and should feel free to encourage residents to donate.

I hereby pledge $50.

Agenda item 8.17 Bowman08-2013 Long Term Energy Plan

The Bowman report indicates:

“Bruce Power is requesting letters of support for Bruce Power’s continued role of 6,300 MW or 8 units.”

This is not a huge issue as Bruce Power is not asking for taxpayers’ money. But there’s a principle at stake.

Energy generation and transmission are provincial issues. Energy generation and transmission are not council issues. Council has no business taking a stand on energy or Nuclear Energy or Bruce Power as if it was the stand of the people of the TSBP. No wonder council can’t govern the town. They’re too busy pretending they are the voice of the people on all issues, in all forums. They’re too busy pretending to be Bill Walker and Larry Miller. Council members don’t understand what they were elected to do.

Council should decline the request for support.

——————————————————————————

The pdf version of the full August 6 agenda package is at:

https://southbrucepeninsula.civicweb.net/Documents/DocumentList.aspx?ID=55402

An Html version is at:

https://southbrucepeninsula.civicweb.net/Documents/DocumentList.aspx?ID=55400

Craig

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