Thursday September 20, 2018

HHLPOA Submission on 5 Year Review of the Official Plan

Please find enclosed a copy of our submission for consideration and possible incorporation into the Official Plan. Our Association Board met last evening and endorsed this letter and agreed it fairly represents the concerns of the property owners we represent.

I did not mention it in the submission but I believe all of our issues are quite consistent with The Township’s goals in promoting tourism. There are two additional issues which I did not incorporate into the submission but that we felt were worth of mention (the first is more of a question):

  1. Provincially significant wetlands… I am fairly certain your consultant stated there were no Provincially Significant Wetlands in the Township… when I reviewed the Map posted for the Hawk Lakes the entire north east shore is labeled Provincially Significant wetlands… could you clarify?…. I also noted that a considerable stretch of the north west shore was labeled crown land when in fact it is waterfront residential (I wonder if this is an error or in fact mat effect our sensitive rating… and turn it to at capacity)?
  2. We have for some time been raising the issue of geese and associated fouling of Alvin Johnson Park on Halls Lake. Our suggestion has been to naturalize the shoreline and take advantage of Shoreline Advisors working in our area this summer for some free advice on what to do… if you wish our Association would probably supply labour and materials. It would seem to me that the Township could use this as a public demonstration of their commitment to shoreline and water quality preservation as wel as attempting to meet some of your by-laws regarding vegetation removal at shorelines (I know strictly speaking you aren’t violating these by-laws but taking actions to restore shoreline and discourage geese would create a favourable public perception.

HHLPOA Official Plan Submission

HHLPOA Comments on the 5-Year Review of the Official Plan were as follows.  To view a copy of the original letter click here.

Please accept the following submission with reference to the Official Plan 5 Year Review. Our Association represents approximately 600 property owners and has the following concerns:

Minimum Frontage for Shoreline Properties

We note that Halls Lake, Little Hawk Lake and Big Hawk Lake have all been designated and moderately sensitive lakes. We also note that the Official Plan recognizes Lake Plans developed by Property Owner Association. Our Association prepared and filed it’s Lake Plan with The Township about 5 years ago. It is worth pointing out that we won a sizable Trillium Grant to aid costs in preparing the Plan thus we had the luxury of utilizing the services of a consultant and several specialists. The current by-law requires a minimum of 60m as the minimum shoreline frontage for new development. Our Lake Plan suggests the minimum frontage for The Halls and Hawk Lakes to be 90m (300 ft). Our Plan considered the number of properties that can be developed on our Lakes under both the 60 m and 90 M scenarios. The 90m scenario yields a far lower number of potential developments and would logically also reduce the impact on the watershed and by de facto the fish habitat. We note that the requirement for 300 ft minimum frontages has already been adopted in many other municipalities and we would strongly support this for our Lakes .

Water Lot Access

As you know, approximately 200 properties on Big Hawk and Little Hawk Lakes can be accessed by water only. These residents are highly dependant upon the preservation of the Township’s water lots on the two Lakes. Under current arrangements the lots are leased to businesses on the two lakes who in turn lease dockage and parking spaces to property owners. While the Association’s members have no issues with the current arrangements there have been past problems. Our concerns are, that at sometime in the future, that these businesses may not wish to lease this space and may own the access to the water lots. As the Township is currently reviewing the Plan we request that you advise us as to the current status, and take action as required to ensure there is a plan for public access to the water lots should that be required in future.

Light Pollution Abatement

Approximately 5 years ago our Association conducted an extensive survey of our membership to determine their priorities. Our membership was strongly in favour in taking action to minimize light pollution. As such, we hope the Township will consider adding a Dark Skies Policy into its Official Plan. Such a Policy is consistent with the Townships goals of preserving and promoting the natural qualities of the area, tourism, and is also consistent with Provincial goals emphasizing preserving natural heritage. We would ask that Light Pollution Abatement be incorporated in the Official Plan. We would envision the ensuing discussion and education that would result from adding this to the plan would likely be as valuable (or more so) as any by-law that may flow from the policy. The City of Calgary, for one, has been very proactive in reducing light pollution. We have enclosed a set of light abatement by-laws currently being discussed in Calgary – View Here. These By-Laws have been enclosed only to illustrate the goals of the proposed policy. While we recognize that enforcing these By Laws are beyond the resources of the Township we believe the attention the Township can bring to the issue by adding preservation of our Dark Skies to the Plan would be an important step forward. We note that since we started this program about 5 years ago a number of other Lake Associations in Algonquin Highlands have started to promote light abatement.

Noise Pollution

Finally we understood that the Township also wanted to hear about what was working well. To that end we would like to reiterate that our Association fully supports the current noise by-law as written. We would not support any change to the current noise by-law.