To the Editor,
Re: New dock and boathouse regulations
For nearly a year I have been working with others to fight a situation in which provincial regulations fail to mesh with municipal authority. As mentioned in the article, waste disposal is one of those areas, and it has been a huge issue for many of us.
The problem, beyond the utter lack of regard shown by provincial ministries for the concerns of those affected and the spheres of responsibility which are, by provincial legislation, under control of municipal authorities, is the way in which these matters have been regarded by courts and others.
The fact is that there is no presumption in legislation that a provincial regulation “trumps” a municipal one. Cases in court and tribunals, like the Ontario Municipal Board tend to break that way, but generally because of the resources and influence of the side arguing that way. This leaves people and, in this case, municipalities only a costly appeal as recourse.
Most often people and small town governments are unable to pay or are unwilling to risk losing in a fight that ought not to exist in the first place.
Municipalities are given zoning and land use authority by law. Where authorities “overlap” or there are disconnects and discrepancies the municipality’s bylaws, which are in most cases more restrictive and more considerate of the rights of neighbouring landowners, should be the first applied, and applied for.
People considering works of any kind on their properties, perhaps especially on the shore-line, should receive authorization from their municipality first.