In the recent past, many kilometres of Ontario Great Lakes shoreline, once available to be enjoyed by the public, have been greatly limited through the utilization of loopholes in the system under the Boundaries Act.
Ontario's population is growing but the available recreational waterfront resource is shrinking. This is not sustainable. Large stretches of beautiful beach and shoreline which have historically been accessed and used by the public are now obstructed with fences or other structural barriers and intimidating no trespassing signs.
We believe that the Government of Ontario, through its legislative authority should mandate that all Great Lakes shorelines are accessible to walkers.
On three separate occasions in the recent past, a private members bill "The Great Lakes Shoreline Right of Passage Act" has been introduced in the legislature only to die on the order paper when the legislature was dissolved. In each instance of first reading of this bill, and in one case, the seconding reading, the bill was supported by all political parties.
Currently, the only course of action to stop this is to take it to the courts. All attempts to get the province to represent the public in this matter have been met with little or no success. Parties have been told by the province to solve the problem locally or take their own legal action. We have seen that many local governments lack the will and/or the means to tackle this issue. The private legal route has proved to be prohibitively expensive.
This is a matter that is of interest to all Ontarians and should be addressed by the provincial government.
On three separate occasions over the past few years a private members bill, "The Great Lakes Shoreline Right of Passage Act" (modeled after similar legislation in other Great Lakes states) had been introduced to the legislature.
In May 2011, after receiving support from all parties, it was referred to the Standing Committee on Justice Policy but unfortunately, it died on the order paper when the legislature was dissolved. In June 2012, the 1st reading was again carried but, it died when the legislature was pro-rogued in October 2012.
We are asking the government to elevate this bill to the legislative agenda and once and for all, make sure ALL Ontario citizens have the right to enjoy their Great Lakes shores.