Lake of Bays approves amendment to trailer and camping By-law
Lake of Bays approved an amendment to the trailer and camping By-law, in the November 14, 2023, meeting.
In August, Council approved a resolution permitting camping on an approved campground with a primary dwelling, and on Provincially and Federally owned land where legislation allows this use, and it prohibited camping on privately owned land without a primary dwelling and development permit.
Council approved the staff recommendation to amend the By-law, allowing for the use of one tent or trailer for a maximum period of 14 consecutive days on developed residential properties for a maximum of 21 days throughout the calendar year.
This will allow property owners to allow family or visitors to stay in a tent or trailer periodically throughout the year, such as during holidays.
Council also agreed the Township will no longer regulate the use of trailers for camping on crown land.
By-law Officer, Chris Collins, suggested that crown land “has nothing to do with the Township.” He said, “It’s all crown and permitted there. Let them deal with it.”
Councillor, Nancy Tapley, expressed concern about enforcement to ensure vacant land isn’t used like crown land. She said, “I’ve seen crown land campsites and they’re horrible. Some of them are really, really bad. They cut down trees, they don’t use the toilet facilities of any kind. I’d not like to see that in vacant land on this Township.”
Councillor, George Anderson, concurred that crown land camping is a problem and suggested the Township can work with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry moving forward. He also recommended that staff change the public guide to clarify the camping allowances on crown, vacant, and Township land given current confusion.
Collins advised they will change the guide, and regarding enforcement concerns expressed that By-law enforcement is always an issue, and unless the issue is related to parks or beaches, “99 percent of them we rely on someone making a complaint.” Once the Township receives a complaint they investigate, and issue penalties as required.
For instance, a complaint where someone is using their trailer for longer than 14 days will be investigated.
Collins also clarified that this By-law doesn’t apply to short-term rentals. “Short-term rentals will still be based on the house only.”
Councillor, Jacqueline Godard, expressed concern about overloading septic systems with more people on the property and whether municipal facilities are being used for trailer waste.
Collins advised there are transfer stations in Baysville and throughout the District of Muskoka, and residents can also rent porta potties or outhouses as another option to alleviate septic systems, which are designed based on the number of bedrooms per dwelling.
Staff will move forward with the By-law and revisit Council with an update and recommendations for changes where needed in the future.