Re-examining camping restrictions in MH
The following are brief reports of items discussed during an Aug. 29 Minden Hills council meeting.
Councillors heard a presentation from brothers Blaine Cooper and Blair Johnson, encouraging council to revisit regulations in the township’s zoning bylaw that prohibit camping on private property.
As Cooper and Johnson explained, they have traditionally camped in trailers on their parents’ property. However, after a complaint was filed with the township and the family was visited by bylaw staff, the brothers said the trailers were removed to come into compliance.
Cooper and Johnson stressed that their family get-togethers are typically over by 11 p.m. and that while they understood the township not wanting derelict trailers sitting on properties, for example, thought the current regulations prohibiting any camping on private property were too strict.
They also noted that action against bylaw infractions in Minden Hills is complaint driven, and said they were aware they are not the only people who camp on private lands in the township. Cooper said he knew of municipalities where camping on private properties was permitted, sometimes subject to a fee being paid alongside yearly property taxes, or with bylaws capping the number of consecutive days where such camping may occur. He encouraged Minden Hills councillors to consider those kinds of regulations.
A number of councillors seemed to agree the regulation was too strict, and suggested perhaps it was time to modernize the bylaw. Mayor Brent Devolin, noting the regulation was 13 years old, said it could be re-examined as part of the township’s zoning bylaw review.
Minden Hills will enter into a contract with firm WSP Canada to conduct septic system re-inspections throughout the township.
Municipalities have been mandated by the province to create septic re-inspection programs, although what type of inspection is performed is up to each individual municipality. Minden Hills will undertake Type 3 inspections, which are lid-off inspections. An additional inspection following a pump-out may be required if remedial action is deemed necessary.
The township will pay costs totalling nearly $48,000 plus HST for scheduling, risk assessment and mapping, as well as $1,500 plus HST for the firm to conduct a public meeting and education outreach, and $1,500 plus HST for representatives from the firm to attend council meetings. The rest of the program is cost-neutral, with the cost of the actual inspections falling to property owners. The site inspection cost per property will total $225 (that’s inclusive of HST) and post-remedial inspections that may be required will also cost $225. Minden Hills is the last of Haliburton County’s four lower-tier townships to institute its septic re-inspection program.
The cost of recycling continues to climb, and Minden Hills will incur a deficit to cover its recycling expenses for 2019.
As a report from public works director Travis Wilson indicated, during the past few years markets for recyclable materials have crashed due to a combination of factors including the acceptance of materials overseas.
Wilson’s report showed that $225,000 was budgeted in 2019 to deal with the recycling from the township’s waste disposal sites. However, because of the declining market, the companies that process those recyclables – Garbutt Enterprises and Waste Connections - have increased their tipping fees.
Wilson indicated the deficit will be approximately $54,000, and said a rebate of some $18,000 is possible, should the market stabilize somewhat.
“While it’s a large hit to the township, it’s necessary to keep these businesses going,” he told councillors.
If there is not a departmental surplus at the end of the year, money will come from landfill reserves to cover the shortfall.
Traffic concerns along Bobcaygeon Road
During the winter, residents who live near the intersection of Bobcaygeon Road and Scotch Line Road made a delegation to council regarding their concerns about the speed of traffic in the area, as well as heavy trucks using the road.
During last week’s meeting, council received a letter from area residents about their ongoing concerns.
“Since that time, we received your official response in letter once, but have noticed no change, no action of improvement at all, except the filling of potholes on the road, which is usual operation for annual temporary repair,” reads the letter, which goes on to state the biggest concern is with large trucks, the noises they create and the damage they do to the roads.
“It’s one of the negative byproducts of growth,” Mayor Brent Devolin said of increased traffic in the area. Roads work in the past couple of years has improved the quality of the stretch of road between the village of Minden and Scotch Line Road, and more homes continue to be built in the area.
“When you improve the quality of the road, the speeds go up and there’s more traffic,” Devolin said.
Councillor Pam Sayne said she thought the township should be encouraging the drivers of large trucks to use Highway 35 instead of Bobcaygeon Road (which connects to Highway 118).
“We have to ensure that area remains a good place to live,” Sayne said.