Ste. Anne council revamps by-law regulating boat docks

PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

Ste. Anne de Bellevue adopted a resolution at the May 9, Monday evening council meeting that will require homeowners with waterfront properties to pay a fee and comply with municipal regulations governing boat docks.

Ste. Anne de Bellevue homeowners with waterfront properties will have to pay a fee and comply with municipal regulations governing boat docks that were adopted at the council meeting on Monday, May 9.

Mayor Paola Hawa said the decision to modify the current by-laws was made after the city received several complaints last year regarding noisy neighbours that had modified their docks to include large patios where people would party at night on weekends.

The city decided to tackle the dock problem this year to make sure disturbances aren’t repeated, said Hawa. “It used to be that you could only have a certain length outwards and widthwise. It’s about respect for your neighbours. People don’t want to see a large patio that blocks their view of the water.

“Some people weren’t following the regulations and were putting in huge things,” Hawa added. “So one of the residents asked us to take a look at the by-law and we did over the past several months. We had to review the federal laws regarding the canal which is under federal jurisdiction and we also looked at our neighbouring cities to see what they’re doing in terms of regulations.”

The end result was that the city decided to go back to the original municipal provisions governing waterfront docks that stipulate they can only be a straight structure of a specific length and width that extends into the water. Any type of deviation from the regulations, such as adding a T-type structure at the end of the dock that juts into the water, is prohibited.

“These docks are allowed only to provide access to and from a boat,” said Hawa. “A dock is not a place where someone can throw a party. We wanted to make sure we went over the regulations with a fine tooth comb, so we went back to the original size requirement but added the permit fee.”

The new fee provision requires all homeowners to apply each year for a permit at city hall before installing a dock and pay a modest fee of about $20, said Hawa. “It’s a matter of better managing and overseeing the situation because it was getting a little bit out of hand,” said Hawa. “It applies only to residents and does not impact commercial enterprises.”

While residents will have to apply for a permit each year before installing a dock, Hawa said they won’t necessarily have to pay the fee each subsequent year. She said the new provisions should put an end to the noise complaints. “When you’ve got a permit requirement, the city also has the ability to fine people who don’t respect the by-law,” said Hawa.

The by-law revisions governing boat docks are part of an on-going effort by the city administration to update all their by-laws to make sure they are current. “Some of the by-laws are at least 20 years old so over the past two years we’ve been slowly updating some of them,” said Hawa.

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