FORBIDDEN!

CORRECTION

The Wentworth Gazette regrets that part of the following article is incorrect. It states there is a blanket prohibition on fixing docks & boathouses because of a new law. In fact, the new law specifies it applies to flood zones, but also to other circumstances. As soon as we realized our error, we posted this correction.
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A property owner applied for a permit to repair a boathouse on Lake Louisa. The Municipal Inspector studied the file and granted the permit. Here is cut-and-paste of the actual email sent 5 August 2022.

“The permit is printed and ready to be picked up at the town hall.”

The property owner then went to Town Hall to pick up his Permit. As he was getting ready to leave, the Director of Town Planning came out and took the permit from his hands. She said that a new law had come into effect in March 2022, and that repairs were no longer possible. The property owner asked for a copy of the law. The Town Planner said she would email it to him. Here is cut-and-paste of her email.

“I was trying to find it in English, but I couldn’t found it so far. Here the French version. (Was passed in December coming into effect in march 2022)

Décret 1596-2021

http://www2.publicationsduquebec.gouv.qc.ca/dynamicSearch/telecharge.php?type=13&file=2201-F.PDF

The property owner clicked the link and found the law was uniquely concerned with flood zones. Here is French and English of the sentence introducing the law.

Loi instaurant un nouveau régime d’aménagement dans les zones inondables des lacs et des cours d’eau

An Act to establish a new development regime in flood zones of lakes and watercourses

The property owner told the Town Planner that the law didn’t apply since Lake Louisa doesn’t flood, and his site is especially impervious to flooding as it slopes up at a 30 degree angle away from the lake. She has not responded to this email.

The property owner then complained to the Mayor, Jason Morrison. Here is cut-and-paste of that email.

1. On seeing that the Permit granted by The Inspector was for me, she withdrew it.

2. She said in front of witnesses that she was withdrawing it in virtue of new Quebec Law (Décret 1596-2021) that came into effect in March 2022. As further proof this was her reason, please see her email to me dated 16 August.

3. This law is uniquely concerned with the risk of flooding. “Loi instaurant un nouveau régime d’aménagement dans les zones inondables”.

4. There can not be a flood at Lake Louisa because the outlet is too large. According to your own expert, Miroslav Chum, in the 2021 study you commissioned: “Note that the large width of the outlet (about 20 m) is responsible for the small variation in water level

5. It is troubling that your Director of Town Planning & Environment can be so wrong on the law she claims to be invoking, and ignorant of the hydrology of Lake Louisa. (If she actually was correct about the law and flood risk at Louisa, then not one single property owner would be allowed to repair their dock or boathouse.)

Neither the Mayor nor the Town Planner has responded to this email mentioning the 2021 Hydrology study by engineer Miroslav Chum, that declared explicitly a flood is impossible at the Lake.

Nevertheless, if all this stands, then it means that nobody will ever be allowed to repair their dock or boathouse.

In a very real sense, the bureaucrats at Town Hall are stealing our property rights through what the courts have termed a “disguised expropriation”. (“expropriation déguisée”)

Maybe we can’t affect Canada’s policies, or Quebec policies, but we do have the power to affect how Wentworth chooses to interpret laws.

Here is the phone number for Town Hall 450-562-0701, and here is the Mayor’s email address: jmorrison@wentworth.ca

One thought on “FORBIDDEN!

  1. Debbie Anderson

    I have lived on our lake for 64 years and my family for well over a hundred. It is almost impossible for Louisa to flood because of our very large, gradual outlet that can accommodate large amounts of water int the floodplain of “mud lake” I think it’s time that Wentworth rethinks it’s stand on their interpretation of these generalized Quebec bylaws for waterfront property. Lake Louisa has been determined to have a primarily rocky shoreline interspersed with a very few gently sloping beach areas. Erosion is minimal or non existent. Other provinces recognize that Warves, cribs and boathouses shelter aquatic wildlife and provide extended shade to the water yet Quebec insists that these structures are damaging to waterfront, but only on private property. Time to support your taxpayers and allow us to enjoy OUR property.

    Reply

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