Meaford's council has rejected a staff recommendation presented to council in December that would have implemented fishing restrictions along the Bayfield Street waterfront.
At their December 11 meeting council was presented with a report outlining a number of complaints regarding a small group of fishermen who frequented the shoreline along Bayfield Street.
“The Municipality and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) have received complaints regarding the activities of members of the public in the park lands to the north and west of Bayfield Street in the Municipality of Meaford,” noted the December 11 report.
The report said that those activities of concern included public urination, urination on park features including the cannon near Fred Raper's Park, early morning noise, profanity, vulgarity, and the cleaning and selling of fish.
Council deferred making a decision on the report's recommendation to implement fishing restrictions in the area in order to allow time for a resolution to be found that would avoid a fishing ban. At the January 29 meeting council was told that with the help of the OPP and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, the major issues had been resolved.
“Since the December 11, 2017 Council meeting, additional actions have been taken by the OPP and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF). The majority of issues of concern are understood to be resolved,” read a January 29 report to council. “It has also been suggested that the Municipality should open the washroom facilities at this location. The washroom buildings in this area of the waterfront are closed in the winter. It is very standard operational practice for park washrooms to be seasonal services, as they are not winterized buildings.”
The report noted that the cost to rent a portable toilet is estimated to be $130 per month, a cost that council was willing to take on.
“$130 per month is a cost, but if we compare it to OPP calls, I would imagine $130 per month is fairly reasonable,” suggested Deputy Mayor Harley Greenfield.
Councillor Shirley Keaveney agreed. “I'm in favour of investing in a portable toilet for this location as well, even on a trial basis to see if that solves the problem,” said Keaveney.
The January 29 report to council also acknowledged the value of fishing to the local economy.
“The impact of removing a popular recreational activity, and one that can support local businesses, was outlined by local fishers, community members, and business associations. These stakeholders expressed their opposition to Council regarding the recommended Bylaw,” noted the report.
According to the report, regular users of the popular fishing spot have said they are willing to consider developing their own code of conduct that would help guide the actions of those fishing in the area.
The report also recommended that the municipality develop an updated park by-law that would address the issues previously experienced at the municipal parkland along Bayfield Street.