New Ontario proposal concerning camping / anchoring in public lands
Just thought I'd put a link up concerning some changes that could affect boaters in parts of Ontario. I'm particularly concerned about possible changes concerning the North Channel if this were put into law. Thoughts?
Success - for nowPermalink
On March 16, 2023, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry amended ERO 019-6590 to remove the elements of the original proposal that we found so objectionable. Here is a summary:
"This proposal notice has been updated on March 16, 2023 to focus on proposed regulation changes related to floating accommodations. The following proposals have been removed and are no longer under consideration: reducing the number of days that a person can camp on water at one location in each calendar year from 21 days to 7 days, increasing the distance that a camping unit on water must move to a different location from 100 meters to 1 kilometer, adding a new condition to prohibit camping on water within 300 meters of a developed shoreline, harmonize non-resident and resident camping rules, and several other minor clarification proposals. Any further consideration of these proposals would be addressed by a new Proposal Notice. If you have already commented, we appreciate your feedback."
This is excellent news. Mission accomplished for now. I'm not sure how to monitor any further updates on this subject but I suspect Facebook will "explode" if something similar is introduced.
GLCC has submitted comments on this proposalPermalink
After significant research, consultation, and editing, yesterday (March 10), the Great Lakes Cruising Club submitted our comments to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry in response to ERO 019-6590. We have received acknowledgement of receipt by the Ministry.
Regulation with unintended consequencesPermalink
It is becoming quite clear that the proposal may not have intended to capture recreational boating but as currently drafted, it certainly would. Due diligence is still required to ensure that this error in scope is corrected. Ontario Sailing and Boating Ontario are both engaged. I encourage the GLCC to also make a submission. I would not regard this as advocacy but alerting the drafters of the potential impact albeit unintended of their proposal. As a former regulator I am aware of how important it is for everyone who has something constructive to say to speak up to ensure all perspectives are considered. It is quite possible that many Ontarians would be happy to see these restrictions on anchorages adopted e.g. cottage owners. Be heard!
I was totally confused by…Permalink
I was totally confused by the proposal. It’s contradictory as I read it, to be charitable. Some of it is quite nutty, or maybe I am. Like 300 meters which is 328 yards from any shoreline structure (A seldom or unoccupied shack perhaps, or some commercial building). That’s a distance somewhere quite far away. How is that measured on the water? And what about when a violator is around some point and not even visible? Even if it doesn’t apply to cruising boats I fear mission creep. The reasons for this initiative in part declaring gray water pollution which is realistically only an issue in (confined) marinas who are also stated as a beneficiary! Probably violates federal navigable water rules. Regardless too much mischief, needs to be flattened.
New Ontario ProposalPermalink
"any watercraft equipped for overnight accommodation”. from the government.
"After visiting the above web site I was concerned that anchoring anywhere in Canadian waters might be a thing of the past. However, after doing some digging and a reading a post from the LCYC, I believe that the anchoring ban described is not intended for cruising boats but instead permanently anchored house boats."
How do you say that the regulation won't apply to our boats? It seems to me that it is pretty clear that the government means us since they specify no timeline.
Canadian anchoring lawPermalink
After visiting the above web site I was concerned that anchoring anywhere in Canadian waters might be a thing of the past. However, after doing some digging and a reading a post from the LCYC, I believe that the anchoring ban described is not intended for cruising boats but instead permanently anchored house boats.
I have also submitted a comment, copied below for information:
I am an active recreational boater. From our base at a marina in Kingston my wife and I spend forty or fifty nights each season at anchor at numerous locations around eastern Lake Ontario and in the Thousand Islands. The regulation as proposed would appear to disallow most of our boating activities.
I understand and respect the concerns that the proposed regulatory changes are intended to address but must object to the overreach - probably unintentional - embodied in the proposal.
In broad terms the background provided describes concerns regarding “floating accommodations … floating structures designed principally to provide accommodation for longer stays … rather than for the purposes of camping or navigating.” However, the proposed regulation then appears to place new restrictions on watercraft that in no way meet that definition.
Would it not make more sense to apply the regulation to the specific structures that are the source of the problem rather than to all watercraft equipped for overnight accommodation?
If the true intent is to limit all “camping on water” activities in order to minimize possible nuisances, then the proposed changes are partly but not entirely reasonable.
1. “Reducing the number of days … at one location … to 7 days.” The definitions would need to be more clear but seven days strikes me as unreasonably restrictive - over the navigation season this would be less than two days per month. I would suggest that limiting the number of consecutive days would be a better way to address the issue at hand.
2. “Increasing the distance that a … unit … must move … to 1 kilometer.” This seems generally reasonable - a move of 100 meters is clearly not a move to a different location.
3. “Adding a new condition to prohibit camping on water within 300 meters of a developed shoreline, etc.” This is completely unreasonable and simply does not consider the geographic realities. Anchorages more than 600 meters in size or without any shoreline development are rare to non-existent in the area where we sail; this restriction would be equivalent to telling us that we can no longer use our boat.
In summary, I strongly recommend that the proposed regulation be dropped or significantly changed so that it does not affect the normal activities of reasonable, environmentally responsible, and considerate recreational boaters while attempting to correct an unrelated problem.
Hi Scott, We became aware of…Permalink
We became aware of these proposed amendments earlier this week and have been researching their potential impact on cruising boaters if they are implemented as proposed. Over the next several days we will be formulating the position of the GLCC on these proposed amendments and developing a rational comment to submit to the provincial government. We also plan to communicate with our members outlining our research and recommendations that may inform individual members' submissions to the Province of Ontario should they wish to do so. (Hopefully, many will)
As a rule, the GLCC is not an advocacy group and we are reluctant to engage in commentary on proposed legislation but, having discussed this over the last week, I think we will likely engage on this matter.
RC - Georgian Bay, The North Channel and Canadian Lake Huron