Board approves motion that ABCA will not implement shoreline management development guidelines proposed in draft report
More than 270 people attend Special Meeting of Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority Board of Directors; Meeting moved to South Huron Recreation Centre, Exeter to accommodate public interest
The Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) Board of Directors confirmed through an approved amended motion at a Special Meeting in Exeter on November 3, 2016, that the Board does not agree with the draft shoreline management development guidelines proposed by a consulting team in a draft Consultant Recommendation Report.
More than 270 interested people, including shoreline residents, almost filled the South Huron Recreation Centre in Exeter for the Special Meeting.
The conservation authority, working with a Steering Committee that includes industry, shoreline, and municipal representatives, started work in 2015 to update the current Shoreline Management Plan (SMP), which has not been updated since 2000. Originally, the update was to be completed in 2016 but ABCA accepted the Steering Committee’s recommendation to extend the work into 2017.
A consulting team doing technical work as part of the update prepared the draft recommendation report. The Steering Committee recommended that the draft report be posted online to provide opportunities for public written comments to help inform development of local policy. ABCA then posted the draft online on September 1, 2016 for public written comments until December 1, 2016.
Since the draft was posted, more than 200 people have provided written comments. Some of the comments have been positive towards aspects of the document but the majority of comments have been critical of at least some of the draft report’s recommendations including proposed development guidelines. Many shoreline residents said the consultants’ draft recommendations went too far. The Board of Directors agreed at the special meeting.
The chairman of the ABCA, Mike Tam, on October 27, 2016, called the November 3 Special Meeting, at the written request of one-third of the Directors, to deal with a notice of motion. The motion in the notice was introduced by director Burkhard Metzger. At the Special Meeting, Metzger also introduced an amendment that changed the motion’s wording from the board “does not intend to” implement to “will not” and that deleted the words “in its proposed form.” Director George Irvin requested recorded votes. The votes were recorded and all members of the Board of Directors voted in favour of the motion as amended.
The approved amended motion, moved by Dave Frayne and seconded by George Irvin, was carried and said that: Resolved that the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority Board of Directors declares that it will not implement the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority Shoreline Development Guidelines of Section 7.8 in the report (pages 113-117) and does not endorse the underlying principle of ‘managed retreat’ and the outright prohibition of all shoreline protection works, and further, that the Board of Directors continue to endorse the use of policies as contained in the 2000 Shoreline Management Plan and the Board of Directors direct staff to provide options to re-engage the public to update the 2000 Shoreline Management Plan.”
Chairman Mike Tam thanked the crowd for being polite and cordial as the Board conducted its meeting to consider the motions.
“A number of people asked that the Board provide additional clarity in a timely way and the calling of a Special Meeting was a way for the directors to reinforce that they are not going to implement the development guidelines proposed by the consulting team,” said Brian Horner, ABCA General-Manager and Secretary-Treasurer. “We appreciate the interest shown by the public and the input they have provided us to date. Staff will now work to provide the Board with options for re-engaging the public and all our partners to update the 2000 Plan.”
The primary focus of the ABCA Shoreline Management Plan Update is to address shoreline hazards for flooding, erosion, and dynamic beaches and their impact on shoreline development. According to staff, updates to the 2000 Shoreline Management Plan would provide and support solutions to current and future issues and problems along the shoreline; reduce damage due to periods of erosion, flooding, and dynamic beach movement that may occur to development close to the shore of Lake Huron; direct new development away from hazardous areas; and help to protect existing development from potential impacts of new development.
An updated Shoreline Management Plan should reflect current mapping, legislation, policies, guidelines, technical information related to shoreline hazards, and current land use trends along the Lake Huron shoreline, according to ABCA.
Ontario Regulation 147/06 (The Regulation of Development, Interference with Wetlands and Alterations to Shorelines and Watercourses) is a provincial regulation that gives Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority a regulatory role to help protect life and property in areas including shoreline hazard areas. The conservation authority’s planning and permits program reviews new development proposals along the shoreline. Updates to a Shoreline Management Plan could provide a more consistent and up-to-date guide for development and municipal land use planning along the shoreline, according to ABCA. Updates could provide newer information on shoreline recession rates, ensure that local policies and application of the Regulation conform to Province of Ontario policy, and keep policies current in light of emerging land use trends.