The Greater Bobs and Crow Lakes Association supports reasonable and responsible development that adheres to all Municipal Building Codes and complies with all Environmental Regulations.
Role of GBCLA in contesting questionable development:
GBCLA has assumed the role of stewards of our lakes. We want to do what is best for our water quality, wildlife, fish, forests, flora and fauna. Development on our lakes must go through a process that involves planning departments, environmental services, health departments and the neighbours/community that will be affected by the development.
The GBCLA relies on our partners as the subject matter experts and we will support their involvement in any questionable development. Our partners include our Stewardship Council, the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, Watersheds Canada, and Federation of Ontario Cottage Associations (FOCA), the Network of Lake Associations and the Ministry of Natural Resources.
We will monitor that these organizations work with political representatives and staff in our Townships to ensure that all information that is required is collected, that a defined legal process is followed and that the information is effectively communicated before a development is approved. The pursuit of legal action on behalf of all lake property owners is not regarded as within the scope of the mission of the GBCLA.
Ontario Municipal Board:(Now Local Planning Appeal Tribunal)
The Ontario Municipal Board ("OMB") has been undergoing radical reform in the past few months. The changes have the OMB being replaced by a new statutory body, which will be referred to as the
Local Planning Appeal Tribunal ("Tribunal"). The Tribunal is mandated to provide more weight to
local concerns in appeals related to land use and development.
Perhaps most significantly, challenges to planning decisions brought before the Tribunal would, for the most part, proceed as appeals. In the past, challenges before the OMB proceeded as de novo hearings. This means that the OMB essentially re-determined municipal land use planning decisions on their merits as opposed to merely reviewing, with some degree of deference, decisions that local bodies have already made, as is generally the case with appeals. For more complex appeals, the Tribunal would only be able to overturn development and land use decisions made by locally-elected councils when they did not conform with official plans or the Provincial Policy Statement. If the Tribunal did not ultimately agree with the municipality's decision, it would have to return the matter to the municipality, as opposed to replacing the original decision with its own. Other notable changes include:
- Exempting more land use planning decisions from appeal;
- Making the appeal process more publicly accessible, including through the creation of an agency that would provide free information and support to members of the public looking to participate;
- Reforming and incorporating into statute rules on the conduct of hearings; and
- Shielding municipal policies aimed at supporting development around major public transit stations from challenge.
Updates on Development and Land Use Issues:
Transport Canada no longer has a say in what happens with respect to building new boathouses. Building permits and approvals must be issued by municipalities who have regulatory responsibility, the Conservation Authorities must approve conservation issues and the MNR&F has informed us that with new/seasonal installations of docks that are over 15m2 in surface area, a Land Use Permit is required.
Existing facilities do not require a permit. According to Transport Canada, 'the Public has the right to navigate - the right to use navigable waters as a highway’. What this means is that if someone feels their right to navigate has been restricted by the building of a boathouse they can take the offending party to court. The right to sue may be initiated by an individual, an association, a municipality, regulatory agency or any combination.
On Bobs & Crow Lakes where passages may be very shallow and narrow at certain times of the year, ones right to navigate a passage could be restricted. Given our current water level situation, it is even more restricted and should be factored in when approval is being sought. A ‘Spring’ high water level is not a valid reference time period. Depending on the size and location of a boathouse, and factoring in the restricted passage, there could be concerns by boaters.
Algonquin Land Claims:
Update as of December 2017: The next step towards a settlement of the Algonquin Land Claim involves an assessment of the potential environmental effects related to the proposed transfer of lands in accordance with the signed Agreement-in-Principle (AIP). The Agreement involves the transfer of approximately 117,500 acres of provincial lands to the Algonquins of Ontario. The Draft Environmental Evaluation Report (EER) addresses environmental effects, which under the Environmental Assessment Act include social, cultural, economic and natural environment effects. In assessing the environmental effects of the transfer of provincial lands, it documents the effects to:
- industries, public utilities and business interests;
- recreational uses;
- adjacent land uses;
- natural environment and;
- cultural environment
A Report was released. To obtain a copy of the EER visit: Land Claim Report