GLOBAL RESOLUTIONS INC.
45 St. Nicholas Street, Toronto, Ontario M4Y 1W6 Tel 416 964 7497 Fax 416 925 8122
April 8, 2004
File No. MAG-G-1007-00(SP)
Ms. Kathy Speers
c/o Save The Beaches Association
R. R. #1
Dear Ms. Speers:
RE: BEACH ACCESS MEDIATION PROCESS
We acknowledge receipt and thank you for your letter of March 24, 2004. There are a number of areas we would like to address in response.
The Cease-fire Proposal
Simply put, there are two opposing views in the Tiny community with regard to beach access and use. One view holds that a person who holds title to a beach or part of a beach has the right to determine who can be on his or her property. The other view is that people have a right to be on a beach irrespective of who may hold title to that property. This second view, in other words, asserts that beaches are public. Each claims certainty of its rights and the correctness of its position, and believes the opposing view is wrong. In the absence of a judicial ruling, neither will convince the other of the extent of its rights and the limitations of the opposing view. As a result, no individual is prepared to take any steps that might be construed as giving up his or her perceived rights. In fact, each takes steps to assert his or her perceived rights out of fear that not doing so may mean he or she will lose such rights. This is what has causes most of the tension within the community, and has been an obstacle to moving forward in the mediation process.
The cease-fire proposal offers a clear way around this obstacle. It allows the parties to continue their beach by beach discussions on what constitutes reasonable use and reasonable numbers of users without concern that they are giving away any of their perceived rights.
Moreover, the cease-fire proposal comes with a safety net. If beach by beach discussions on what constitutes reasonable use and reasonable numbers of users are not successful, the cease-fire mechanism is terminated and no one will have compromised his or her perceived rights. As such, any characterization of the cease-fire as taking away rights is misinformed and simply incorrect.
We believe the cease-fire framework calls on the best qualities of the people of Tiny Township and should be given a chance.
Stewardship of the Beaches
The settlement of access and use issues would only resolve half the problem. The ongoing stewardship of the beaches remains a critical element of a sustainable resolution of beach access and use issues. It is a matter that is part and parcel of any beach by beach discussion on what constitutes reasonable use and reasonable numbers of users.
You indicated in your letter that you attended before the Tiny Township Council with a “Draft Beach Management Proposal”. We have not received a copy of this document. It has not been tabled within the mediation process. Presumably it addresses stewardship issues, which, as stated above, are critical to a sustainable resolution. Without, however, resolving access issues this would seem to put the cart before the horse. Unless and until the “rights” issues are resolved, there will be little to no interest in addressing stewardship issues. This, you will recall, was the fatal flaw of the “Community Beach Statement” tabled by the Tiny Township Council.
Any proposal that does not attempt to resolve the opposing “rights” conflict fails to address the fundamental problem and source of turmoil within the community, and, as such, cannot be considered as a sustainable framework for moving negotiations forward.
Representation of Stakeholder Interests
Throughout the mediation process several groups and individuals, including your group, have made representations on behalf of non-shore line interests. These other groups have included Tiny Residents Working Together, the Tiny Township Council, and beach associations comprised of both shoreline and non-shoreline residents. In addition, several individuals who chose not to be associated with any group communicated their views to us. Throughout the mediation process, the conflict over the “rights” issue has been the backdrop of virtually all discussions. As a result, it has been in the context of that backdrop that your views and the views of other non-shoreline stakeholders have been manifest in the process throughout.
Activities during the Mediation Process
Throughout the mediation we have heard the kind of complaints you describe in your letter. We have also have received complaints from shoreline owners concerning vandalism and provocative activities. For example, you may recall that you yourself advised one beach community about a possible threat to their property. Most if not all of these activities are directly or indirectly connected to people trying to assert their perceived “rights” with respect to access. This highlights the necessity of the cease-fire to the mediation process.
Our observation is that the community has struggled and continues to struggle with how to resolve parking issues. It is our understanding that public safety is the paramount concern. As you know, Tiny Township Council formed a parking committee that tried to address the various concerns throughout the community. A member of your executive served on that committee and no doubt understands, better than we ever could, the challenges in connection with developing an equitable parking policy.
iii) Continuity of Participation
You make reference in your letter to a 16-month period during which your group appeared to be shut out of the mediation process. You may recall that when we first accepted this assignment a number of stakeholders refused to meet with us. As a result, we spent a number of months working at having these stakeholders reconsider their role in the process. During this period, as we have explained before, this was the focus of our attention. Without their participation there would no mediation. In May 2002, in response to comments you made in the media, we wrote to you inquiring as to whether or not you were continuing in the process. A few months later we received a letter from your counsel setting out your demands for re-entry to the process. You subsequently advised us that the letter misstated your position. We are sure that you can appreciate how a reasonable person reading that letter would conclude your group had withdrawn from the process. At no time however has your group in any way been excluded or shut out of the mediation process by us.
The Goal of the Technical Sub-Committee
In February 2004 a conference call was convened among the members of the technical sub-committee, which included your counsel. The purpose of that call was to review the progress of the sub-committee and discuss draft documents that participants were working on. At the end of the call, we were advised that your group would be providing a proposal, in writing, for the sub-committee’s consideration at a later date. The goal of course was to be in a position to eventually present a finished product to those stakeholders who participated in the July 6, 2003 meeting. Given the complexity of the issues and to avoid misunderstanding and confusion, we understood we would have to develop an effective strategy to properly present and communicate whatever the final product of the sub-committee might be.
You subsequently decided, without the consent of the Committee and without advising it of your intended actions, to circulate incomplete working drafts in the community and make highly critical comments in the media. As we stated in our one-hour telephone conference on March 11th, we do not understand how this assists the mediation process or sustains goodwill with the other stakeholders.
In closing, we concur with your comments that all parties need to show good faith. As we have stated in our interim reports, we believe the overwhelming majority of Tiny residents are desirous of a “made in Tiny” solution.
Yours very truly,
GLOBAL RESOLUTIONS INC.
“Original signed by Paul Torrie” Paul Torrie, Mediator
“Original signed by James McKenzie” James McKenzie, Mediator