By John Francis
The Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula has had four Council Meetings since the last issue of this newspaper.
The regular meeting of October 28 began with a Public Meeting concerning a minor zoning adjustment for the new Peacocks Foodland store on Hwy 6 in Tobermory. No one attended or complained; the adjustment was passed. We’re one tiny step closer to a new supermarket in Tobermory.
Next was a presentation by Dianne Thomson concerning the proposed Woodland Trail on the south side of Miller Lake. The proposal and the discussion at Council are summarized in the Minutes for that meeting, page 28. The proposed trail route is shown on the map included here.
This was followed by a delegation from Sue Lessard, complaining of what she considers an illegal construction yard on a property adjacent to her house and asking Council to enforce the municipality’s bylaws. Her presentation is documented in the minutes of that meeting.
The Woodland Trail came up again in a CAO Report at the Nov 12 Council Meeting. Council are enthusiastic about the trail but a municipality is only allowed to make one Trillium Grant application per year and St Edmunds Museum has made it known that it hoped to apply for one. “You hate having to make a choice between two good things,” commented Councillor Smokey Golden. Council elected to defer the decision until Trillium announces a deadline for applications, while trying to think of a creative way to apply for both.
The hot potato issue of the day was Goose Management and Lion’s Head Beach. CAO Jones presented a summary of the different approaches that might help discourage geese from living on the beach. He noted that a waist-high fence would interfere with their sight lines and might make geese uncomfortable. Combined with dogs and maybe drones — it might be enough. But it might not. In the end, it all comes down to how far you are willing to go — are you willing to kill a few to discourage the rest? And how do you manage “the lethal option” in a village setting? Councillor Jamie Mielhausen commented that if you’re not willing to kill them, “you’ll just be throwing money after money after money.” Councillor Golden stated she would hate to have a kid get sick because of the goose poop on the beach. There will be a Public Meeting about Lion’s Head Harbour on Dec 11. Goose management options will be discussed at that meeting and Council’s decision will be deferred until afterwards.
Under Other Business Council discussed the Hallowe’en storm damage at Lion’s Head harbour. Lighthouse inspection by DFO was planned for Nov 13; MNBP staff hoped to do emergency repair of the siding immediately afterwards to close the building in for the winter. Councillors wondered if there ought to be more of a strategy to protect various elements of the harbour — the beach, the lighthouse, the outer shore, the floating docks. Public input would be good. They agreed to bring these issues up at the Dec 11 Public Meeting.
Councillor Megan Myles asked what would happen if the water rises by another foot next summer, wondered if municipal infrastructure in general and Lion’s Head’s floating docks in particular could be made more resilient to a further rise in lake levels. CAO Jones stated that it would be a large and very expensive undertaking to retain a variety of experts to do that sort of planning. Councillor Myles said she would rather have a plan than an emergency response. CAO Jones offered to do a report on what the costs might be to do such a planning exercise.
Under Correspondence, Council discussed the Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) gathering which takes place in January. MNBP’s representatives at that gathering will be tasked with making polished, detailed and consistent requests for funding and assistance on a short list of projects and issues. But which projects and issues? The arena upgrade? Affordable housing initiatives? Tobermory’s water system? Outrageous OPP costs? No firm decisions were made, but a couple of things stood out:
• MNBP has been turned down repeatedly on funding requests for the arena upgrade. The consensus: It’s a good project, it’s shovel-ready and it’s our turn.
• It’s hard to sell infrastructure proposals in places without municipal services. Affordable housing applications for Tobermory would be a lot more likely to be approved if they had town water.