Ontario seeking input on regs regarding “floating accommodations”

Ontario’s Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry is seeking public input on its regulations addressing “floating accommodations” on waterways over public lands. The regs apply to most any navigable waterway, as lake and river bottoms are Crown land unless a private water lot is involved.

The ministry is responding to increasing concerns among municipalities and First Nations that local waters will face a blight of floating homes that skirt the existing rules by moving 100 meters every 21 days. I spell out the applicable regs regarding anchoring rights, under which floating homes fall, over on this ever-evolving page, which I have just updated.

Georgian Bay township has been fairly exercised lately over the presence of one particular floating home, whose owner has expressed ambitions to start building and selling them, and recently issued a fresh statement on the matter. The prospect of proliferating floating homes has also been opposed by the Town of Northeastern Manitoulin and the Islands (NEMI) and Patsy Corbiere, chief of Aundeck Omni Kaning First Nation and chair of the United Chiefs and Councils of Mnidoo Mnising. As Corbiere told the Manitoulin Expositor on March 23, “There is lots of private land on the Island and there are ongoing land claims. I want a cap on Manitoulin Island. I don’t agree with these floating accommodations.”

Among the questions the Ministry is posing on the Environmental Registry are:

•Should the types of watercraft that are allowed as “camping units” be clarified? [See my article on Anchoring Rights for the definition of “camping unit”]

•Should the meaning of “camping purposes” be clarified?

•Should changes be made to the camping rules set out in Ontario Regulation 161/17 as they relate to camping on waterways over public lands? [Again, see Anchoring Rights for a discussion of camping units and camping rights]

•Should more restrictive municipal bylaws apply where they exist/are created?

Comments on Ontario’s Environmental Registry, which can be submitted by email, are open until April 19. You can download my submission below (PDF format).

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