January Men’s Breakfast: Great Things Happening at the Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula

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Submitted by Brian McHattie

With a heavy snowstorm pending, members of the Men’s Breakfast community came together on January 17 to listen to our feature speaker, Bill Jones, Chief Administrative Officer for the Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula. Bill updated us on a variety of issues that Council is working on.

Many will know about the short-term accommodation issue and Council’s efforts working with a consultant to develop a policy linked to the zoning by-law. To date, Council has supported a report with the following aspects: to broadly address occupant loads in residential dwellings being rented seasonally, determine impacts on septic systems designed for family units, concerns with absentee landlords, and how such accommodations negatively affect our neighbourhoods. Bill described further Council’s thinking: applying licenses with modest fees to three categories of rentals based on capacity and the duration of the rental period, and tying licenses into zoning bylaw requirements; if a rental accommodation loses their license then they are considered non-compliant under the zoning by-law – a serious offence. 

The Council resolution on the subject is now open for comment at nbpstareview.org on the municipality’s website.

We were all excited to hear that a new position has been established – the Manager of Community Services and Tourism Economic Development. Ryan Deska, a rural planner and former staffer at the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs has accepted this position. We all welcome him to Northern Bruce Peninsula and look forward to working with him in the weeks and months ahead.

Lastly, Bill spoke about a timely community topic: lighthouses. As you know the Friends of Bruce District Parks is raising funds to repair the Big Tub Lighthouse in Tobermory. One of their Board members, Bill Caulfeild-Browne was present and updated us on their fund-raising success: another $7,000 or so and the lighthouse fund will be in place (please give generously!). Bill Jones reminded us of the recent loss of the Lion’s Head lighthouse on January 12 due to powerful and prolonged north-west winds exacerbating by the high water levels. Already key members of the community have rallied: the teacher responsible for designing and working with his students to re-build the lighthouse in the mid-80s has come forward, along with a prominent local builder keen to re-build with a solid foundation and natural stone-covered walls. What an inspiring community we live in!

Note that our next meeting is Saturday February 22 at the Tobermory Community Centre. Breakfast is served at 9, with coffee ready by 8. The guest speaker is Sean Hurst, 1st Vice-President of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 290 who will speak on the role the Legion plays in the community. Breakfast is $10 by tickets purchased at the door. For more information, please contact Brian McHattie: 289-684-3895 or brian.mchattie@outlook.com.