Dysart asks that personal docks be removed

By James Matthews

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Personal docks stored on the Haliburton Lake beach have drawn the ire of some residents.

Andrea Mueller, manager of programs and events, said during Dysart township council’s meeting Sept. 12 that the Encroachment Bylaw needs to be enforced.

She said there’s been a number of complaints about docks stored on municipal property. Not the docks owned by the cottage association. Rather, some people have taken umbrage with personal docks being stowed on public land and boat launches.

“These are personal docks,” she said. “They’re quite large in size.”

She said some of them had cement blocks anchored into the beach.

“Some of the things with these pose hazards to people trying to enjoy the area,” Mueller said. “There were some nails poking out.”

Over the Labour Day weekend, several docks were anchored to the Haliburton Lake municipal beach. The docks have ropes running across the beach to tie them off to trees or other structures.

There’s concern that, as the docks were pulled up onto the beach during the Labour Day weekend, perhaps that’s indication the owners won’t be back to put them into the water until next year.

In a report to council, Mueller wrote that there had been issues last year with a barge tied off at the Eagle Lake beach. Concerns about safety had been expressed then about people jumping into the water from the barge.

“If someone gets hurt from one of these docks/watercraft, the municipality may be found liable,” Mueller wrote in her report. “Encroachment on municipal property is not permitted as per the Encroachment Bylaw.”

She said staff were looking to council for permission to start enforcing the bylaw.

“There is a bylaw now that’s already in place,” Mayor Murray Fearrey said.

“I guess it hasn’t been enforced, as far as I know,” Mueller said.

“I think part of it was we wanted to create an opportunity for some public awareness, too,” said Mallory Bishop, the municipality’s clerk.

Bishop suggested municipal staff put a notice sticker on the docks in question, something to inform the owners that they have a month to remove the offending structure.

“I think some of the cottage associations, I can’t speak for all of them, but I think some of them would be willing to help put the messaging out,” Mueller said.

Council agreed to have staff enforce the Encroachment Bylaw.