Ste. Anne’s boat dock by-law on hold one month after its adoption

PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

Ste. Anne de Bellevue council put on hold an amended boat dock by-law during the June 13 council meeting that was adopted just one month earlier to allow the city to hire a consultant to study water flow patterns specific to the area.

Ste. Anne de Bellevue postponed a boat dock by-law during the Monday evening council meeting on June 10 just one month after it was unanimously adopted by council last May.

The unexpected grace period was announced so the city can hire a consultant who will study water flow patterns in Lac St. Louis which will allow the city to determine the best course of action to take to ensure that all boat docks next to private waterfront properties are in compliance with the city’s regulations.

The abrupt about-face came after the city received several complaints from homeowners with waterfront properties on Ste. Anne Street who said that the ‘one size fits all’ approach didn’t take into account variations in water depth, flow, and other aspects that are unique to each property.

Mayor Paola Hawa said the city was merely trying to enforce regulations that have always been in place for several years regarding the size of boat docks and that the amendment was meant to apply uniformity to all boat docks by ensuring they extend no more than 20 feet perpendicular to the shoreline and are a specific width.

After listening to residents’ concerns, however, the city decided that it would be best if it hired a private consultant to conduct a thorough study of the water flow patterns and other aspects unique to the Ste. Anne area as it didn’t have the expertise to determine the best approach to take in regards to specific variations, said Hawa.

“It’s better for everybody’s security so that’s why we called in an expert to look into the matter,” Hawa told Your Local Journal. “This way we’ll be able to take into account the currents, wakes, and winds so that we can come up with a by-law that is fair for everyone.”

In the interim, Hawa said the city will not issue any tickets to residents for contravening its current by-law. “For this summer, while the study is being conducted, we’re just going to maintain the status quo. The final report should be ready by this fall,” she said.

“I know quite a few things about the city, but at this point I know very little about what docks should look like and what’s safe,” Hawa added. “I’d rather just leave it to the experts and that’s why we hired them. We’ll let them make their recommendations on what would be right for this situation.”

The objective of the study is that if there are any changes required to the city’s current boat dock by-law, that changes are implemented before next year’s boating season, said Hawa who also thanked residents for voicing their concerns.

“We agreed with the residents because they know the peculiarities of that area of Lac St. Louis throughout the year,” said Hawa. “Once the consultant has come up with the recommendations, the residents will have a chance to hear them and voice their opinions. Then hopefully, we can come up with a resolution.

“The whole point of this is to allow people, as with any by-law, to balance out one neighbour’s right versus another neighbour’s right,” Hawa added. “We were thanked by several people for listening to their concerns and this is an excellent way forward. It’s just a hiccup in the road and the best way is to fix it.”

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