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Issues & News


2013 - New Wheelchair Family Access Boardwalk at Kinloss Lane
2012- Assessment of Beach and Groundwater Quality at Sauble Beach - report by Dr. A. Crowe

2012-Sep-05 - Sauble Beach Pollution Study - Status Report - Well Sampling Results

2012-Jun-25 - Public Access to the Beach Blocked

2012-Apr-16 Parking on the Beach

  • Sauble Bulletin - 2012

    We were pleased to welcome Dr. Mary Louise Byrne of the department of Geography and Environmental Studies at Wilfred Laurier University to our meeting in July. As anticipated, her presentation was very interesting to our members. Dr Byrne has visited Friends of Sauble Beach before to bring us up to date on her work here which consists of GPS mapping of the condition of the beach and dunes. Her preliminary research began in 2003 and she has visited many times since. She reminded us that the beach dune system consists of relict sand that was deposited by receding glaciers 10,000 years ago. It is a closed system so there is no new sand coming in today. What we have is all there will be and any sand that blows past the dunes across Lakeshore Boulevard is lost. 

    The dunes are a finite system. Continuing sand loss will result in a future problem with the beach blowing away and leaving the rock beneath bare. The dunes cannot handle human traffic which ignores the designated accesses, tramples the vegetation and creates blowouts. The catamarans which are pulled up into the dunes instead of being tied up on the beach interfere with the deposit of sand into the dunes. The raking of the beach and the filling in and straightening of the natural water courses on the beach lowers the beach toward the water table, causes the sand to stay wet and breaks the rhythm of the system. For these reasons the beach and dunes north of Sixth Street North where there is less human traffic is healthier than south of Sixth Street which is still in trouble. 

    Climate change with predicted rising temperatures will likely be a factor in 
    water levels. There was a cycle of high and low water levels occurring over roughly ten years or so. The historic high occurred in the late eighties but since 2000 we have been in a growing low. With the growing expanse of the beach the preservation of the sand in the dunes at this time is important and the dunes and their vegetation are seeking to grow toward the lake in order to accomplish this. The temporary and now permanent sand fencing has been important to this process. 

    The sand is constantly moving so each map is a snapshot of things as they are at the time the research is done. Gains and losses can in spots be as much as a metre in a year. The good news is that on the whole, with the help of our partners and the gradual education and effort of the public, the picture has shown continuing improvement since 2003 and Dr Byrne encouraged us to keep on working with our efforts at education and our Beach Management Plans. 

    The Town of South Bruce Peninsula has been improving the swing sets and moving them out of the dunes onto the beach. The walk to the beach from the Friends of Sauble Beach Lookout down to the beach has been improved and made safer. The Town will also be installing our educational signs for the north end of the beach. 

    We are looking forward to our Fish Fry at the Community Centre on the Civic Holiday, August 4th 

    Four new memorial plaques have been placed on benches on the beach this summer. 

    New members are always welcome to join us in our work of preserving Sauble Beach so future generations can enjoy it as we do today. 

    Our next Annual General Meeting will be held on Saturday, August 14 at 9:00 a.m. at Amabel-Sauble Community School. Note the change of location for this meeting which will be a special 
    Tenth Anniversary Celebration with pictures and stories of our work from 2000 to 2010. 

    Check out our 10th Anniversary Add on the back page of this month's Sauble Bulletin.

2011-Oct-06 Concern re Vehicular access to the Beach at 6th St N

2011-Sep-21 New Signage

2011-Aug-16 FSB Presentation to TSBP Committee of the Whole

2010-Jul-27 FSB's Position on the Sewage Study

2010-Jun-15 FSB Presentation to TSBP Committee of the Whole

2010-Jun-07 Contents of Legal Opinion re Dynamic Dynamic Beach Bylaw

2010-May-31 Presentation to Council; Legal Opinion re Dynamic Beach Bylaw

2010-May-08 Decision process - Permit #45-2009 & Resolution #R-49-2010 TSBP

2010-Feb-02 Application for Vehicular Access to the Beach

2009-Nov-01 Permanent Sand Fencing

2009-Oct-01 11th Street N. Boardwalk Extension

New Wheelchair Family Access Boardwalk at Kinloss Lane

The boardwalk has been specifically designed and widened for wheelchairs and should accommodate two way traffic as well. Included in this new design is a special viewing station. Kathy Strachan, President of The Friends of Sauble Beach, officially opened
on Saturday October 12, 2013

Assessment of Beach and Groundwater Quality at Sauble Beach - report by Dr. A. Crowe

Dr. Allan Crowe has prepared a report showing the results of his August 2012 sampling at Sauble Beach. His recommendations and conclusions support the use of sand fencing, dune grasses and restricting vehicles on the beach. View the report.

Sauble Beach Pollution Study - Status Report - Well Sampling

ResultsDuring the week of August 13 to 17 Hutchinson Environmental Sciences Ltd. was able to take water samples from 44 separate shallow sandpoint wells at Sauble Beach. All samples were successfully submitted to ALS via Purolator within 24 hours of collection based on the constraints of the measured parameters, particularly E.coli.
There was no E.coli in any of the 44 samples taken. View the full report.

Public Access to the Beach Blocked

A vehicle access gate has been erected at Peel Lane that blocks the public access pathway. We can only assume it is for purposes of driving onto the beach. The town needs to enforce their own by-laws immediately, before there is any more damage to the dunes. Mr. Szewczyk has been seen a few times recently driving on the beach and no one is stopping him. We want the TSBP to make it very clear to SBDC that they will not tolerate the installation of an illegal road in this location.

Please contact the town to demand protection of our dunes and public access to the beach! Use council's contact info to send letters, emails or even phone calls to show your concern. Council looks at the numbers of people that contact them, so the more the better.
FSB will continue to monitor the situation and will keep our members apprised.

Parking on the Beach

There have been a number of closed sessions at the town that are allegedly regarding the Sauble Beach Development Corp requesting parking on the beach. Along with that, a representative of that group was seen with his car on the beach on the Saturday of the Easter weekend. As far as we know he had illegal access. Please find attached a letter from Donnelly Law respecting parking on the Beach between 5th and 6th street and the Dynamic Beach By-law. This was sent to the town to give serious consideration to the Legal opinion by Donnelly Law in any deliberations they might have concerning parking on the beach.

Concern re Vehicular access to the |Beach at 6th St N

Once again there have been activities on the beach that are questionable regarding vehicular access. View our letter to the town regarding the removal of boulders blocking the illegal driveway at the 6th St. washrooms.

New Signage

FSB, with the permission of the Town of South Bruce Penninsula, raised funds for the design and placement of environmental signs at the beach. The blowing sand and sun had weathered the large ones at the main entrance, and they have now been replaced with a new sign

FSB, with the permission of the Town of South Bruce Penninsula, has also been responsible for significant improvements in the beach access walkways. Many people do not realize that the work of FSB has improved their access to the beach. To correct any misinformation, signs have been placed on the newest/best boardwalks at Sauble Falls Road, 11th, 8th and Essex Streets. FSB has plans in place to improve 2 older boardwalks but in 2011 received no support from the Town.

FSB Presentation to TSBP Committee of the Whole
This summer, Councilor Jackson made a motion to remove the sandfencing on the beach. This is quite a concern to the Friends of Sauble Beach. FSB Chair Sue Seibert made a presentation to TSBP COW on August 16, 2011 at the request of the Town so that they could obtain more information on this issue. The installation of the sand fencing was a joint project by the Friends of Sauble Beach and the Town of South Bruce Peninsula. Seibert's slide show states the facts of the project including the history, purpose and to correct misinformation.

FSB's Position on the Sewage Study
July 27, 2010

Mr. Phil Dwyer, Public Works Manager
Town of South Bruce Peninsula

Dear Mr. Dwyer:

Re: Proposal regarding sewers at Sauble Beach

These comments are being written to you on behalf of Friends of Sauble Beach (FSB). As you know, FSB is a volunteer group whose mandate is to preserve, protect and enhance the dune eco-system at Sauble Beach. FSB has always enjoyed a good working relationship with the Town of South Bruce Peninsula (TSBP). We appreciate this co-operation.

We must, however, comment on the recent presentation regarding the possibility of sewers at Sauble Beach. Our concerns are related to the impact on the beach environment of such a project. Proposals which involve the building of permanent structures being erected on the Environmentally Zoned Beach to provide for pumping stations, is not something which FSB could support. We are advised the proposed pumping station would be 40ft x 60ft and be approximately 1 1/2 stories in height. This proposed use clearly contravenes the zoning by-law and sets a dangerous precedent for others should it be constructed as proposed by the municipality. The installation of diesel engines and storage of diesel fuel at this site should not be considered for a fragile beach ecosystem.

In addition to the contravention of the zoning by-law we have very serious concerns about the removal of the dunes in this location to accommodate this pumping station. These dunes contain rare plant species and provide protection to the road from wave run up. Construction of such a building will cause major disruption to the dune community well beyond the foot print of the actual building. Measures undertaken in construction such as dewatering may also impact the plant community in the area. The dune vegetation provides stability to the dune feature without which they are extremely susceptible to wind erosion particularly during the late fall, winter and spring of the year when strong winds occur off the lake.

Much anecdotal discussion has taken place regarding the safety of existing septic tanks located in Sauble. Has an inspection taken place to prove one way or the other that the septic tanks are functioning and if, in fact, any run off from these tanks is occurring? Certainly, modern day septic systems are very efficient in handling waste material. We agree however that older systems need to be inspected to determine their efficiency.

FSB also has concerns regarding the health of the Sauble River if it is used as a dumping ground for effluent. We all know that the Sauble River empties into Lake Huron, what will the ramifications be for the Lake when it is fed from the Sauble River? Questions about the ability of the Sauble River to accept this effluent given its very limited flow have also been asked. Have studies been undertaken which provide data to prove that the water of Lake Huron will not be impacted by this effluent? One only has to look at other Lake Huron communities which have sewage treatment plants and whose beaches have at times been closed to swimming. A sewer system does not guarantee that beaches will not be closed. The rare closure at Sauble which occurred this year is certainly a unique occurrence for Sauble Beach. The cause of this closure is yet to be determined.

We have under separate cover expressed our concerns respecting the Growth Strategy Discussion Paper. These concerns relate largely to the undetermined amount of growth being contemplated and as the lack of any Natural Heritage Evaluation that should precede any growth strategy. We believe there should Natural Heritage Evaluations which provide data as to how many people can be accommodated on the beach at Sauble without impacting the dune and beach system need to be carried out before any decisions can be made on a sewer system that will foster growth.

Therefore, until such time as appropriate scientific studies have taken place which prove that the population will grow will not impact the health of the beach; FSB would suggest that such a project not proceed.

Thank you for reading these comments. Should you have any answers to provide to our questions and concerns, please reply via email to the addresses listed below.

Thank you, Mary Ransom, Chair, FSB
Sue Seibert, Vice-Chair, FSB

FSB Presentation to TSBP Committee of the Whole
FSB Chair and Vice-Chair made a presentation to TSBP COW on June 15. View the outline of the presentation and the new motion which we have asked Council to consider. The presentation and its contents have been referred to Mr. Phil Dwyer, Public Works Manager. Mr. Dwyer will prepare a report to Council. His recommendations will be discussed by Council. This report will keep not only the legal opinion before Council, but also the points raised in the presentation. Read the The Owen Sound Sun Times report on the presentation. We will keep you informed as soon as we know the results of the Public Works Manager's report and any action on the part of Council.

Contents of Legal Opinion re Dynamic Beach Bylaw
FSB was fortunate to obtain a legal opinion from well-respected Environmental Lawyer, David Donnelly regarding the application of TSBP's Dynamic Beach Bylaw to private lands. The short answer is that, yes, the Bylaw does apply to private lands. Read the complete report. This document will be part of FSB's presentation to TSBP on June 15th.

BBQ;Presentation to Council; Legal Opinion re Dynamic Beach Bylaw
Friends of Sauble Beach will not be participating in the beach BBQ as part of Sandfest. The decision was made because we must respect our mission and values which preclude various activities on the Beach. It was a good opportunity to give back to our local community but we cannot do so at the expense of what we are trying to achieve at the Beach. We must always support activities which seek to "Protect, Preserve and Enhance the dune eco-system at Sauble."

Sue Seibert, Vice-Chair and Mary Ransom, Chair of FSB will be making a presentation to the TSBP Council as part of the COW meeting on Tues. June 15 at 11:00 a.m. While only Sue and Mary will be allowed to speak it would be great to have members in the Gallery. Please wear your shirt if you plan to attend. It would be a good idea to arrive early, in case we are called sooner than the 11:00 scheduled time.

Sue and Mary will attempt to have Council reconsider the legal opinion which FSB received regarding the application of the Dynamic Beach ByLaw to private lands. We also have new information to share with council regarding this issue.

Decision making process regarding Permit #45-2009 & Resolution #R-49-2010 Town of South Bruce Peninsula (TSBP)
a) Oct 2009, Friends of Sauble Beach(FSB) object to Permit #-45-2009, as well as Grey Sauble Conservation Authority (GSCA) Permit # GS09-257 to construct a 24 ft x 180 ft. roadway across from Peel St., through the dunes. GSCA rescinds their permit upon receipt of new information. TSBP puts their permit on hold pending further investigation. Eg. Legal opinion from Town lawyer and possibly Environmental lawyer.

b) Feb 2010, TSBP passes #R-49-2010 whereby an agreement would allow Sauble Beach Development Corportation members, their friends and family to access the Beach at 6th St. FSB renews their objection to vehicular traffic on the beach.

c) Summaries sent to FSB members: Dec. 2009 and monthly from Jan. 2010 to Mar. 2010. Many individual members wrote excellent letters to TSBP and GSCA stating their opposition to vehicular traffic and their concerns regarding the dunes and beach. Thank you!

d) Oct & Nov 2009, FSB consulted with Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation and Environmental Defence/Blue Flag. Both agencies wrote letters supporting the position of FSB. Letters were forwarded to TSBP.

e) Mar 2010:
through Environmental Defence/Blue Flag, FSB requested and received a legal opinion regarding the TSBP Dynamic Beach Bylaw,(DBB) #64-2004, as to whether the Dynamic Beach Bylaw applies to private lands and an opinion on private property rights vs. environmental protection.
TSBP discussions regarding #R-49-2010 are put on hold until such time as the Mayor can meet with Chief Kahgee and Chief Akiwenzie as the land in question is part of a First Nation's Land Claim f) Apr 2010:
FSB receives a pro bono legal opinion from the firm of Donnelly Law, Toronto. The short answer is yes, the Town's "DBB does apply to private property owners, namely the SBDC." We will discuss this in more detail after hearing from the guest speaker.
Chair and Vice Chair meet with Mayor, CAO and PWM of TSBP, April 30. Our local Councillors were unable to attend. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the process of decision making, restate the objections of FSB and to share the FSB legal opinion. FSB asked Council to consider the FSB legal opinion, dated Apr. 29, before any formalization agreements are discussed with SBDC.

Application for Vehicular Access to the Beach
In the fall of 2009, the Friends of Sauble Beach executive was made aware that an application had been filed with the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority and the Town of South Bruce Peninsula, the effects of which would allow a 24 foot gravelled private access for cars to enter the beach. The application was filed by the owner, the Sauble Beach Development Corp. which owns the property to the south of 6th Street for approximately 1300 feet. Friends of Sauble Beach oppose these approvals that will allow for cars on the beach because of major public safety concerns, as well as the impacts of the actual construction on the fragile and rare vegetation on the dunes and beach. The Piping Plover, an endangered species nests on the beach as well.

Formal letters have been sent by the Friends of Sauble Beach to both the Town of South Bruce Peninsula and the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority expressing very serious concerns to these applications. As well, many members of Friends of Sauble Beach, and a number of ratepayers, have written to the Conservation Authority and the Town voicing opposition to the applications.

As of the end of March, the Town is considering allowing the applicant access off of the 6th Street lookout area, at the south end where the private ownership begins. They have instructed their lawyers to prepare an agreement that will permit this. They have also requested the Mayor to undertake consultations with the Chiefs of the two First Nations in the area. Councillor Mark Wunderlich and Mayor Gwen Gilbert were invited to speak about this issue at our May 8 membership meeting. Friends of Sauble Beach will continue to oppose this application.

Permanent Sand FencingFriends of Sauble Beach finished two projects that have been in the planning stages for a while in the fall of 2009. Permanent sand fencing has been completed along the south end of the beach from Kinloss Lane to 5th Street thereby relieving our valiant team of volunteers from placing and removing the fencing in the fall and spring while still providing protection from the drifting sand and keeping the sand where it belongs - on the beach. Small explanatory signs will be placed on each fence explaining its purpose. This project was completed with funding from the Town of South Bruce Peninsula and the Ontario Trillium Foundation using a local contractor.

11th Street N. Boardwalk ExtensionFriends of Sauble Beach finished two projects that have been in the planning stages for a while in the fall of 2009. At 11th Street north an extension has been placed over a small water course [photo] that was making the board walk in this location difficult for some beach goers to navigate and a small platform/turning circle [photo] has been placed at the lakeside end. The platform has a ramps on each end that will be it easily accessed for those with mobility challenges and those with baby carriages, wagons etc. We hope this platform will be used by those who aren't able to access the beach proper as a viewing area. This project was completed with funding from the Town of South Bruce Peninsula and the Ontario Trillium Foundation using a local contractor.