Resistance to Doughty's proposed development mounts
HUNTSVILLE - Huntsville Mayor Claude Doughty wants to build a boathouse and dock on his property at the mouth of the Oxtongue River.
Resistance to Doughty's proposed development mounts.
THE MOUTH OF THE RIVER: The delta of the Oxtongue River is dynamic and shallow. The boathouse to be torn down is to the left.
And he wants to build them big.
But his neighbours aren’t crazy about the idea.
There were 14 letters of protest filed with the Township of Lake of Bays in connection with his application for an amendment to the zoning bylaw needed to build the boathouse and dock.
Lake of Bays staff recommended that Doughty be granted the amendment but in the end the issue was deferred until May 15, when it will be heard at the council meeting for planning matters.
“Council decided to defer making a decision on the application to reduce the extent that the structure will project out into the water. I believe the target was 85 feet,” said planner Stefan Szczerbak. “The applicant agreed to the revision and deferral.”
Doughty said he is prepared to come up with a compromise.
“If council’s not feeling comfortable with what the planner recommended, we could rearrange things,” he said.
Doughty’s plan is to demolish the existing boathouse and build a new boathouse/dock complex.
“In order to gain sufficient water depth in which to moor boats, the applicant proposes to locate the new boathouse/dock beyond the permitted maximum allowable distance from the shoreline for a dock and boathouse,” according to the staff report.
The length of the proposed dock would increase from the allowable maximum of 20 metres to 33.53 metres. The projection of the boathouse would increase from the allowable maximum of 15 metres to 30.48 metres.
The compromise that will be brought forward is expected to reduce the proposed size of the structures significantly.
Dwight resident Brian Simpson also wrote a letter of complaint.
“We have a concerned citizens’ group on Lake of Bays,” he said in an interview with this paper. He said all the cottages in the area have discreet structures on the water.
“You don’t have a single boathouse projected out … all the cottages are obscured – it’s unbelievably beautiful – you don’t get this impression of development,” he said. “Every one of us could be building, but we’ve all agreed none of us want to look at each other’s boathouses. We love the unspoiled nature of the area and that’s what we want to continue to see.”
He said area residents want to keep the shoreline as pristine as possible.
The staff report states that “the proposed structure would not impede the only neighbour’s view out into the ‘larger’ portion of Lake of Bays. This is also evident when reviewing the aerial photo and noting the location of the shoreline abutting this property.”
Les Stroud is one of the neighbours who sent in letters of complaint. He said he is worried about habitat loss for fish, among other environmental concerns.
“We all want to build as we please and enjoy our designs and ideas for our cottages and homes. But there comes a time when the environment must come first. Fish habitat must win out … the building of this dock is one of those times. It already represents an aesthetic change that is disrupting and upsetting for many people - but that is opinion based. The loss of yet more fish breeding and nesting habitat is not a matter of opinion - it is a matter of fact,” wrote Stroud. “There are more benign water areas where a build such as this may not have such a large impact - however this Type 1 fish habitat is not one of those. Allow this zoning bylaw change and you allow yet more precious nature to be disrupted, disturbed and destroyed.”