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No Trespassing on the James A. Gifford Causeway
December 15, 2017
BY TERRY GILLIS
On Wednesday, December 06, County Council approved staff’s recommendations brought forward to address litter complaints at the James A. Gifford Causeway.
At the August 23 Peterborough County Council meeting, delegate Brad Sinclair of Ennismore brought forward a presentation on the littering problem along the James A. Gifford Causeway to council members.
The issue came to Sinclair’s attention at the beginning of August while he was exploring Chemong Lake in a recently purchased kayak. What the realtor and ex-Selwyn firefighter discovered was garbage strewn along the causeway’s rocky banks. Sinclair photographed numerous Styrofoam worm containers, plastic bags, empty water bottles and food containers and even an adult diaper, which he then posted to his Facebook page.
County Council Member and Deputy Mayor of Selwyn Township, Sherry Senis, put a motion forward to have staff meet with stakeholders -including the County, Selwyn Township and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry- to come up with a solution.
“It’s a shame that people are not being respectful of our environment,” Deputy Mayor Senis said. “It’s not clear though that the litter that is happening there is just from people that are fishing. There could be litter that’s pulled in from the lake and it could be from people throwing it out their vehicle windows.
“Litter begets litter though.”
The issue of educating the public about littering along the causeway was also brought up, but was opposed by Bev Matthews, Mayor of the Municipality of Trent Lakes. “The County needs to punish, not educate,” said Matthews. She pointed out how in her township, staff search for clues in illegally-dumped garbage in order to determine who should be fined.
On September 20, Chris Bradley, Director of Public Works for the County presented Council with the requested report. In an overview staff noted that while the primary function of the Causeway is to provide an important transportation link across Chemong Lake, there is also an important secondary recreational function and Staff recommended the development of a communication strategy along with a number of positive initiatives aimed at changing the behaviour of the small number of offenders which may result in both short term and long term benefits.
County Councillors wanted more than just an education program and added an amendment to recommendations and put forward a motion to have staff report back with both a communication strategy and more information on possible enforcement measures, including preventing trespassing beyond the guardrails and limiting fishing to parks at both ends of the causeway.
The recommendations that were approved by County Council on Wednesday and will be implemented include:
1. No Trespass By-Law
The preparation of a No Trespassing By-Law for the areas exterior to and the full lengths of guiderails of the James A. Gifford Causeway. This includes an application to the Ministry of the Attorney General for the approval of set fine amounts with respect to the No Trespass By-Law. There is also a requirement to contract a private security service to enforce the by-law on a fee for service basis.
2. Communication Strategy
Staff will work with other local partners through a communications strategy to raise awareness of the new by-law, the impacts and solutions for litter and the introduction of a Clean Marine initiative with a goal to minimize litter and maximize the enjoyment of the region and its attractors.
3. Increased Litter & Garbage Collection
The frequency for garbage and litter collection will be increased to three times per week from May to October.
The total estimated cost for these actions is estimated to be $27,000 and that amount was approved for inclusion in the County 2018 budget.
Selwyn Township Deputy Mayor Sherry Senis, who originally brought forward the motion thanked the staff for bringing back their recommendation, “that mirrored the points in the motion that had been brought forward at an earlier meeting.”
“Council made a very sound decision today that took a balanced approach to ensuring public enjoyment of our region, with that of public safety”, said County Warden Joe Taylor.