To the Editor,
Our elected representatives on Haliburton County’s council are expected to put the draft shoreline preservation bylaw to a vote as early as Wednesday, Aug. 10. This bylaw must be accepted as soon as possible. Whenever legislation which may limit, prescribe or prohibit an activity has been announced as pending, a sudden and intense rush to get things done “under the wire” can be expected. There is no doubt that waterfront property owners either personally or through landscaping and related contractors have been doing just that in Haliburton since 2017. Researching and conscientiously developing legislation does take time. Council members must recognize their individual and collective responsibility to avoid unnecessary delay in adoption of this bylaw in part to limit the opportunistic construction and property alteration addressed within the pending legislation.
Council has settled the 20 versus 30 metre setback debate. As our Minden Mayor Brent Devolin said, he still supported 30 metres, but said for him the “ultimate goal” was passing the bylaw even if not all of the elements were to his liking.
Once adopted, applied, and experienced, the bylaw may be amended. A plain language version may be produced to assist public education and acceptance.
So, let’s end the delaying tactics of false narrative, gas-lighting and scapegoating. Claims of conflict between environmentalists and property owners bizarrely suggest environmental protection is bad and property owners don’t care about their lakes’ ecosystem and their impact or responsibilities. Statements such as “our lakes are healthier than ever and that there is no science to say they are not” sadly belong with Trump’s claim that he won the election. There’s an analogy between the shoreline bylaw process in our county and the science versus non-science debate over the climate crisis. Those who have the most to lose financially initially strive to negate the concern and when that proves unsuccessful efforts turn to simply watering down the response and delaying it for as long as possible.
Let’s briefly look at the climate change red herring which keeps surfacing. This crisis effects aquatic communities via increasing water and air temperatures, lowering of water levels, shortening of the duration of ice cover, extreme weather events, shifts in predator-prey dynamics and exotic species proliferation. Unnecessary disturbance to shoreline ecosystems is not in conflict with global warming. Sadly, there is a synergistic relationship wherein they feed back and accelerate each other’s damage.