May 2, 2004
Mr. Paul Torrie/Mr. James McKenzie
Global Resolutions Inc.
45 St. Nicholas Street
Dear Mr. Torrie and Mr. McKenzie:
Save the Beaches is in receipt of your letter, dated April 8, 2004. We would like to take this opportunity to address some key points brought forth in your letter.
In 1993, when the Rowntree decision was given by Judge Flynn, there was a public outcry for an appeal to this decision which was publicized not only in local, but also Toronto media. There were petitions which were forwarded to the government of the day. Much concern was expressed about how the Rowntree decision would affect the remaining 46 miles of beaches enjoyed by the public for more than 100 years. Residents of Tiny and the surrounding communities feared that other beaches would follow suit. The greatest fears were that restricted access to our beaches would occur and that there would no longer be the continuation of traditional use, such as laying down towels to enjoy a day in the sun.
Media, including the Tiny Cottager quoted many waterfront people (ie. Jim Laytor of Nottawaga Beach) saying that these concerns and claims were false...“Those who have enjoyed the beaches for years need not worry, in light of the Rowntree decision, nothing has changed. Those people who have enjoyed the beaches for years will be able to continue to use the beaches as always.” (We have the newspapers if you wish to read them).
The public was assured by the Government of the day, in 1995, that the decision of the Grand Bend Appeal would apply to the Township of Tiny, and that continued use and access to the beaches was secured. (MNR sent notice out to the media stating this). Everyone relaxed and continued to enjoy their summers.
In 1999, some militant waterfront residents broke the peace and harmony of our Township by suddenly claiming the beaches as private. They called the police and had their own neighbours removed from beaches. Because of the actions taken by some waterfront residents, the peace and harmony of our Township eroded. Two large protests occurred (with 1000's participating), and a letter campaign resulted in the signing of 4000 letters, which were sent asking the Attorney General to protect public rights for the continued use of Tiny’s beaches.
During this time, the Township Council, led by Mayor Lancia, held a press conference to inform residents that the Township was going to start a mediation process to address the shoreline problems. Council appointed the then current President of the Federation of Tiny Township Shoreline Association, Mr. Jack Dies, as Mediator, and it was stated that only the waterfront residents were to participate. The Council, which was a shoreline elected slate, publicly announced that Tiny’s beaches were private. Residents were told they could only use the 66 foot road allowances at the ends of the Concession roads, and Tiny’s municipal beach parks. There was a plan to discourage use of the western shoreline of Tiny, and to promote beach use at Awenda Provincial Park and Giant’s Tomb, which are also located in Tiny Township.
Members of the public and municipality cried foul, because of this blatant plan for a one-sided mediation. Save the Beaches and Tiny Residents’ Working Together (T.R.W.T), approached the Attorney General Jim Flaherty, who then appointed you, Mr. Torrie, to help mediate a solution.
“The Attorney General wishes to have a mediation process designed and implemented to build consensus among interested stakeholders about resolving the dispute over public access to beaches along the shore of Nottawasaga Bay in Tiny Township.”
The draft Cease-fire proposal, which was brought forth in 2003, invites only waterfront residents and Tiny Council to have control in the second phase of mediation. In this proposal, the beaches of Tiny are now being recognized as private; the public is being told they can use Municipal beaches and only ‘walk’ other Tiny beaches. We ask, how is this different from the proposal that was being offered by the ex-Mayor Lancia and his Council, prior to the start of this mediation?
The draft Cease-fire proposes segregation of the public, and only those residents who are fortunate to live within 1500 ft. of the beach area, will be privileged enough to have full use of the beaches, while the remaining group of citizens must keep walking. We fail to understand how such discrimination could bring peace to the Township. What about our charter of rights?
You, Mr. Torrie, state in your letter, April 8, 2004,
“As such, any characterization of the cease-fire as taking away rights is misinformed and simply incorrect”.
Save the Beaches strongly disagrees with your statement. Enclosed with this letter (Appendix #1) is an e-mail dated April 1, 2004, written by Mr. James McKenzie. He states,
“The cease-fire mechanism does not create publicly-used beaches, nor does it open up the use of beaches to those who have not historically used them. Your suggestion that it should, is premised on a faulty understanding of the status of the beaches in question. Public beaches in Tiny are limited to those lands owned by a government authority. All other beaches are privately owned.”
Mr. McKenzie obviously disagrees with your statement as well. In the absence of a judicial ruling, James McKenzie has disseminated a legal opinion and compromised our perceived rights which is...the public has always been able to enjoy a day at the beaches with their families and not been charged with trespassing. Save the Beaches was hopeful that the mediator would remain neutral and not take a position during this mediation process.
The Mediator’s Cease-fire proposal was addressed at the Annual General Meeting of Save the Beaches, held last August 2003. Copies of the October, 2002, Cease-fire were distributed at the meeting and our members discussed the proposal, as requested by you, Mr. Torrie. Our members in attendance (approx. 200) were not in support of the ‘walk only’ proposal, and gave the Directors of Save the Beaches support towards moving forward in the mediation process to pursue beach management, with community involvement in the stewardship of our beaches and offering passive use. Our members were requested to sign letters addressed to the Attorney General in support of mediation, and asking for a representative from the Attorney General to join mediation.
Previously in this letter, we mentioned the greatest fears from the outcome of the Rowntree decision. Since mediation began in the year 2000, we have watched these fears become a reality, through the erection of private signs, fences, boulders, signs delineating Township property and additional restrictive parking measures.
You, Mr. Torrie, have arranged confidential meetings with the various Beach Associations and the policy makers of Tiny Township, where secret agreements were made, allowing the waterfront residents to empower their position. Please read the attached deputation (Appendix #2) given to Council by Save the Beaches. Also attached to this letter (Appendix #3), is the Tiny Township Council’s letter of reply which states, “Council noted that the confidential meetings were initiated by the Provincial mediator and not by the Beach Associations or the Township. Council also feels that beach use issues should be dealt with between associations and through the mediation process.”
In your April 8th letter you address the parking problems the Township. Since mediation began, restrictive parking has doubled, and Council totally ignored the recommendations of their own Parking Committee. In your letter you state, “It is our understanding that the public safety is a paramount concern.” We strongly disagree with this statement. At the 12th and 13th Concessions (the beach located at Conc. 13 is owned by the Township), permit parking has been extended so that non-permit holders must now park 1.5km away from the beach. On a hot country road with no sidewalks, the public must walk with towels, beach bags, toys, refreshments and children down very long and steep hill, 1.5 km to the beach -- where is the safety in that? Neighbours cannot have company at their cottage if the number of cars exceed the size of their driveways, because their guests will receive $60.00 parking fines. Many residents, cottagers and the public have protested and complained to the Township Council. We have copies of the letters of complaints if you wish to read them.
Now, we have been told by Mayor Klug, that Council is privately meeting with the Cawaja Beach Association (at the 11th concession) and Mr. James McKenzie. Council passed byunanimous resolution at the Aril 26, 2004 Council Meeting, that the public parking at the 11th Concession, nearest the beach and the convenience store be replaced with permit parking only. Once again the public will be walking approximately 1.5km to access this public beach. Save the Beaches want to question why the mediator is meeting with waterfront regarding a Township owned beach? Who is paying for your service Mr. Torrie? Why is public parking being removed from a public beach?
Save the Beaches have repeatedly requested meetings with other stakeholders. You stated in your letter, “You may recall that when we first accepted this assignment a number of stockholders 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 be no mediation.”
We would like to know why you could arrange meetings between Tiny Residents Working Together (T.R.W.T.) and the Federation of Tiny Township Shoreline Association (F.O.T.T.S.A.), plus the Council and various Beach Associations and not Save the Beaches? Please see attached newspapers from both associations (Appendix #4), and we refer you to Doug Moles’ deputation where he announces that his Nottawaga Beach Association has been involved with mediation since 2001 and praises you, Mr. Torrie, for bringing the Association and the Council together.
In your letter Mr. Torrie, you stated, “throughout the mediation process several groups have made representations on behalf of the non-shoreline interests”, example T.R.W.T., Council , and including Save the Beaches – our question is, who is representing the PUBLIC’s interest besides Save the Beaches? The Attorney General was asked to protect the public, not just the back lot cottagers and the residents who live within 1500 ft. of the beach area. The ‘made in Tiny solution’ must include public’s rights if you truly want to protect the non-shoreline residents’ rights to access their beaches.
You state in your letter, “A few months later, we received a letter from your Counsel setting out your demands for reentry to the process”. Please reread our letter. We brought forth concerns, not demands, which we asked you to address. You also state, “We are sure that you can appreciate how a reasonable person reading that letter would conclude your group had withdrawn from the process.” If this is true, then please explain why didn’t James McKenzie address this purported withdrawal in your letter of response sent to Save the Beaches? Please read Appendix #5 – the letter talks of setting meetings and how the mediation process is moving forward, but mentions nothing indicating a concern about Save the Beaches withdrawing from mediation. One would think that any reasonable mediator would have addressed this concern of a stakeholder’s withdrawal immediately, since without our participation, there would be “no mediation”.
You end your letter stating “In closing, we concur with your comments that all parties need to show good faith.” Please show us how the waterfront have acted in good faith?
Save the Beaches has been asked to relinquish all of our rights and give up our position. Then we must rely on the Township Council and the Waterfront residents to negotiate some of our traditional rights back since Save the Beaches will be excluded from the mediation process, Phase 2, if this draft agreement succeeds as written.
In closing, we request that in light of the very one-sided view shown by James McKenzie in the enclosed e-mail, dated April 1, 2004 , that Global Resolution appoint another mediator who will be neutral and unbiased. Save the Beaches respectably request that you support our recommendation that the Attorney General appoint a representative from the Ministry to join the stakeholders at the mediation table as another representative of the public.
Save the Beaches is pleased to have our lawyer Mr. Rod Ferguson back form holidays. We will address the draft agreement and work towards a resolution representing the interests of all.
President of Save the Beaches Inc.