Back to the draw­ing board


Wind­ham Coun. Jim Oliver sig­nalled last month that he wants to send the county so­lic­i­tor to the On­tario Mu­nic­i­pal Board with a game plan for Hast­ings Drive in Long Point.

Sim­coe Coun. Peter Black has re­sponded with an at­tempt to bind the county in ad­vance to provin­cial pol­icy re­gard­ing haz­ard land uses.

That pol­icy states that dy­namic, haz­ard-land ar­eas are off-lim­its to new de­vel­op­ment and ini­tia­tives that en­cour­age in­creased hu­man ac­tiv­ity.

Cot­tage own­ers on Hast­ings Drive have ap­pealed a county plan to al­low in­creased recre­ational ac­tiv­ity to the OMB. This in­cludes camp­ing and the park­ing of recre­ational ve­hi­cles on pri­vate lots.

When the OMB agreed to hear the mat­ter, Nor­folk coun­cil di­rected its le­gal team to get the best deal pos­si­ble for the county.

Nor­folk coun­cil didn’t know at the time that the OMB would grant stand­ing to own­ers of va­cant lots on Hast­ings. In light of this, Oliver wants to re­call Nor­folk’s le­gal coun­sel and pro­vide ob­jec­tives for when the hear­ing re­sumes.

Coun. Oliver has tabled a mo­tion to this ef­fect. It will be aired at the Nov. 14 meet­ing of coun­cil.

For his part, Coun. Black has tabled a mo­tion that will also be con­sid­ered at next week’s meet­ing.

Black’s mo­tion is based on a let­ter from se­nior provin­cial of­fi­cials, one ex­press­ing con­cern with the per­mits the Long Point Re­gion Con­ser­va­tion Author­ity has granted in re­cent months for in­ten­si­fied uses on Hast­ings Drive.

Black’s mo­tion is also based on a re­cent On­tario Court of Ap­peal de­ci­sion. That rul­ing af­firmed the obli­ga­tion of con­ser­va­tion au­thor­i­ties to ad­here to provin­cial lan­duse poli­cies in their de­ci­sion­mak­ing.

The let­ter from the prov­ince is dated Oct. 23 and is ad­dressed to LPRCA gen­eral man­ager Cliff Evan­it­ski. It is signed by Scott Oliver, the Min­istry of Mu­nic­i­pal Af­fairs’ man­ager of com­mu­nity plan­ning, and Mitch Wil­son, district man­ager of the Min­istry of Nat­u­ral Re­sources.

“It is well known that the lands in the Hast­ings Drive area are sub­ject to a num­ber of nat­u­ral haz­ards in­clud­ing flood­ing, ero­sion and wave up­rush,” Oliver and Wil­son say.

“in ad­di­tion, this area con­tains provin­cially sig­nif­i­cant wet­lands, is an area of nat­u­ral and sci­en­tific in­ter­est, and con­tains fed­eral and provin­cial species-at-risk habi­tat. These mat­ters and cor­re­spond­ing re­stric­tions on de­vel­op­ment are dealt with in the Provin­cial Pol­icy State­ment and the county of­fi­cial plan.

“The Plan­ning act re­quires de­ci­sions by var­i­ous bod­ies – in­clud­ing con­ser­va­tion au­thor­i­ties – to be con­sis­tent with the Provin­cial Pol­icy State­ment.”

Port rowan coun. Noel Haydt, chair of the Lprca, told coun­cil he was sur­prised to see the prov­ince’s let­ter at­tached to black’s mo­tion. Haydt said he thought the let­ter was sent to the Lprca as pri­vate and con­fi­den­tial cor­re­spon­dence.

black re­jected the sug­ges­tion. He noted that the let­ter was for­warded to Nor­folk county. black said there was no sug­ges­tion it was con­fi­den­tial and as such was fair game for pub­lic con­sump­tion.

Scott oliver and Wil­son have of­fered to meet with the Lprca to dis­cuss their con­cerns fur­ther.

it re­mains to be seen whether Nor­folk coun­cil will have next week’s dis­cus­sion in open ses­sion or be­hind closed doors. in his mo­tion, coun. Jim oliver says this should be “at the dis­cre­tion of the county clerk (andy Grozelle).”

coun­cil is rac­ing to meet a Nov. 21 dead­line. That is the date the omb has set for all par­ties to share the ref­er­ence ma­te­rial that will be weighed when the Hast­ings drive hear­ing re­sumes.

dozens of cot­tages on Hast­ings drive were dam­aged or washed away dur­ing a se­vere storm in de­cem­ber of 1985. The storm oc­curred at a time of record-high wa­ter lev­els on Lake erie.

The for­mer Haldimand-nor­folk re­gion re­sponded by declar­ing the re­sort area haz­ard land. This pre­vented cot­tage own­ers from re­plac­ing their struc­tures. The few cot­tages on Hast­ings that sur­vived the storm have been grand­fa­thered as ac­tive prop­er­ties.

own­ers of va­cant lots have been clam­our­ing in re­cent years for the right to use their land for recre­ational pur­poses. Nor­folk county owns about 50 va­cant lots in the area in ques­tion. Some on coun­cil are sym­pa­thetic to in­ten­si­fied ac­tiv­ity, given that there hasn’t been a cat­a­strophic storm along the north shore of Lake erie in over 30 years.

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