Complaint halts beach bulldozer work at Sauble

posted Aug 24, 2017, 8:09 PM by FSB Information   [ updated Aug 24, 2017, 8:16 PM ]

Complaint halts beach bulldozer work at Sauble

By Scott Dunn, Sun Times, Owen Sound

Thursday, August 24, 2017 8:11:13 EDT PM

Sauble Beach after the town used a bulldozer to remove thick vegetation at north end of beach. Photo was shared by South Bruce Peninsula Mayor Janice Jackson on her Facebook page Thursday. (Used with permission)

Sauble Beach after the town used a bulldozer to remove thick vegetation at north end of beach. Photo was shared by South Bruce Peninsula Mayor Janice Jackson on her Facebook page Thursday. (Used with permission)

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SAUBLE BEACH - Mayor Janice Jackson posted pictures on her Facebook page Thursday which show the dramatic difference a bulldozer made at clearing the north end of Sauble Beach of vegetation Wednesday.

But the work to remove bushes and other thick vegetation from the north end of the beach to 6th Street attracted the concern of members of the Friends of Sauble Beach.

At day's end Wednesday, Grey Sauble Conservation Authority informed the town it needed a permit to do the work and asked for work to halt until a meeting could be arranged Monday with a conservation authority official who is away this week, Jackson said.

“But we've never taken out a permit on the beach, ever,” the mayor said in an interview Thursday. Indeed the vegetation hasn't been so thick before either, she said.

“We've never had to do this kind of work. What we've always done is tilled the beach and raked the beach. But the condition of the beach today is far beyond simply tilling,” Jackson said.

“It's the first time we went in with a bulldozer and we took out all of the bushes and the invasive weeds. We took everything out of the north end. And I think that's what alarmed people. Because it was a large piece of equipment.”

Conservation authority spokeswoman Krista McKee said the conservation authority learned of the work through a private Facebook post by an individual and by contact from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

A Friends of Sauble Beach member reported the bulldozer work, said John Strachan, the volunteer organization's director of dune management. He would have reported it himself had the member not done so because in his view, the mayor's gone too far, he said in an interview.

“She tore all the dunes down around at the walkway at Sauble Falls Road,” Strachan said. “Plus she was digging into the foredunes. When you dig away the foredunes (small dunes closer to the middle of the beach), all the sand blows up into the big, tall dune, and it goes off into the cottages as well.”

Strachan said the area of work was levelled by the bulldozer and was marked out to include an area which included “in spots, part of the full dune.”

“This is all a non-renewable resource. When that sand blows away, there's no more sand coming,” Strachan said. He's happy the conservation authority stepped in.

Jackson said the town shared with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry on Aug. 18 its plans to “rehabilitate” the beach to within about nine metres (30 feet) of the most easterly dunes, a distance that is contained in the town's beach maintenance policies. She said the ministry approved them.

MNRF confirmed Wednesday the ministry was advised of the town's planned beach maintenance and MNRF “provided advice on how their beach maintenance activities can comply with the ESA (Endangered Species Act).” The emailed response late in the day to The Sun Times didn't address whether the ministry has concerns in light of the work so far. It said the town and MNRF continue to work together.

Wednesday was the first day of work on the north beach. The bulldozer removed vegetation from north of 11th Street by the tennis courts to almost the northern tip of the beach at Grove's Point by day's end, Jackson said. She estimated 23 to 30.5 meters (75 to 100 feet) of beach was “lost to vegetation” before reclamation work began.

Plans call for the bulldozer to return to the beach to finish removing vegetation towards the tip of the beach, and also from the dunes to the middle section of the beach. The remaining work should take two more days, Jackson said.

She also said the municipality used a disc-bladed implement to cut into the sand to remove vegetation between 5th and 6th streets last week, on a privately owned section of beach with the owner's permission.

There is less vegetation on the beach the father south you go and so there remain some areas south from 6th to around 3rd or 4th street which need cleaning, though without the bulldozer, she said.

Jackson said she was “surprised and disappointed that they (conservation authority) are even looking permit fees to clean our own beach,” which said would cost $1,200. “I find that bizarre. I mean we pay them $184,000 a year as a mandatory fee.”

Jackson said she has no idea what conditions the permit would set out.

But McKee at the conservation authority said it has good relationships with its member municipalities and it never charges permit fees to them.

The permit is required because regulations dictate that shoreline work which involves moving more than 10 cubic metres of sand must be be reviewed first, McKee said.

She confirmed the conservation authority asked the municipality to stop but added it has no authority to force it to. She said she looks forward to town and conservation authority staff working together to move forward.

Cleaning the beach is controversial for some, particularly given the endangered plover has chosen to call Sauble Beach home, where it returned in 2007 after a 30-year absence.

The beach was “disced” in April, including in the areas of heavy vegetation at the northern tip, Jackson said. Cleaning there, Jackson suggested, is what prompted the first plovers to nest that far north on the beach in seven or eight years. Nests were established down to the volleyball courts farther south.

But heavy rains – there were 19 straight days of rain at the beach this summer, Jackson said – led to vegetation growing back vigourously.

The subsequent cleaning Wednesday took place after the last plovers left. 

Peach Boardwalk Dedication

posted Jul 24, 2017, 9:11 AM by FSB Information   [ updated Aug 24, 2017, 8:21 PM ]

Friends of Sauble Beach members were joined by family and friends of the late Geoff Peach at the dedication ceremony for the Geoff Peach Walkway in Sauble Beach, July 23. Photo by Zoe Kessler/Wiarton Echo


SAUBLE BEACH - Members of Friends of Sauble Beach were joined by family and friends of the late Geoff Peach at a dedication ceremony for the Geoff Peach Walkway in Sauble Beach, July 23.

Geoff Peach was a co-founder of Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation and a strong proponent of the preservation of the beach and dune eco-system at Sauble Beach, a news release from Friends of Sauble Beach said.

Peach’s wife Cheryl and his two daughters, Kathryn and Laura Peach, of Blyth, were at the dedication ceremony, as were other relatives and friends – some from as far away as Calgary, Alabama and Tennessee, Cheryl Peach said in an interview.

“It’s very exciting. It’s lovely coming back because we was a family often came with Geoff on his projects,” she said.

It was good to “actually see what has developed from all the work he has created,” Peach said.

Peach’s daughters did the honours of unveiling the plaque, which was designed by John Strachan, a 17-year member of Friends of Sauble Beach. 

“It’s like he’s here. It just means so much to us as Friends of Sauble Beach. It gives us another kick to keep things going, because we’re all volunteers,” Strachan said. 

Strachan incorporated distinctive elements into the plaque to represent Peach, whom he called “a good friend.” A stylized portrait of Peach shows him sporting a baseball cap with the letters “LHCCC” on it, standing for Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation.

“I think they have captured Geoff well,” Cheryl Peach said, “because he’s always wearing the hat.”

Her husband was also a “true educator,” she said. In an email she wrote, “He worked for the community and the public... he readily and freely shared his knowledge and expertise with coastal communities in order to preserve these beautiful, natural resources for future generations.”

Peach was integral in shaping the two Sauble Beach management plans – one in 2004 from the main street to 6th Street and a second one in 2007 from 6th Street to Sauble Falls Road – which eventually led to the Town of South Bruce Peninsula’s dynamic beach bylaw, Kathy Strachan, chair of Friends of Sauble Beach said in an interview after the ceremony.

Strachan said the bylaw helped prevent “blowouts” – which happen when people make their own pathways down to the beach, resulting in sand blowing away – by limiting access to the beach through the provision of walkways. Peach also worked with the town to minimize the loss of sand by letting beach grasses grow on the dunes and on the beach adjacent to the dunes. 

Peach participated in the FSB’s information seminars and helped with its school programs, an FSB news release said.

FSB currently has over 100 members, Kathy Strachan said. For information,


posted Jun 22, 2017, 8:28 PM by FSB Information   [ updated Jul 24, 2017, 9:33 AM ]

Our 2017 Annual General Meeting for Members was held on July 8th at 9:30 am at the Sauble School.

Beach Cleanup

posted May 8, 2017, 6:22 PM by FSB Information   [ updated May 8, 2017, 6:34 PM ]

Join us for our annual Beach Clean-up on Monday May 22, 2017 @9am at Sixth St Lookout ! 
Spend an hour to enjoy a walk on the beach, picking up litter as you go.  You may even spot a few piping plovers that have returned!

FSB at Sandfest

posted Apr 30, 2017, 6:10 PM by FSB Information   [ updated Apr 30, 2017, 6:12 PM ]

Sandfest on Sunday, August 7th. was a big success. 
We sponsored the kid's play area....gave out lots of prizes :)
Our games and basketball 'shoot like Shaq' were a big hit. We have been asked to come back next year!

Field Guide

posted Aug 5, 2016, 6:08 PM by FSB Information   [ updated Aug 5, 2016, 6:26 PM ]

FSB cheque presentation to Mayor

posted Feb 16, 2016, 12:06 PM by FSB Information

Local Support for Sauble Town Square

posted Feb 16, 2016, 12:02 PM by FSB Information   [ updated Feb 16, 2016, 12:04 PM ]

By Nelson Phillips, Wiarton Echo

Thursday, January 28, 2016 4:36:48 EST PM

The preliminary layout drawings for the possible location of a Town Square style centre in Sauble Beach. Photo courtesy of the Town of South Bruce Peninsula.

The Friends of Sauble (FOS) have issued a public challenge to other local organizations after donating a clean $1,000 towards the proposed Sauble Town Square project. The volunteer group wants to contribute to the lofty Sauble centre idea, and want other groups to shell out as well.

“The Beach is just crying for something like this,” says John Strachan, Director of Dunes Management for the FOS. “It’ll bring us into the 21st century.”
In a press release, the FOS say they made the donation to kick start the project proposal, “so the Mayor’s vision to have work completed this summer becomes a reality.”
Strachan also says this is a perfect opportunity for the FOS and the council of South Bruce Peninsula to rekindle a positive relationship.
South Bruce Peninsula mayor, Janice Jackson, plainly stated via email that the donations would be accepted.
“We have received word that other community groups are rallying to make donations. We will invite them all to take part in unveiling the Sauble Town Square.”
The two groups met each other with considerable force last summer, when Sauble Beach’s Blue Flag designation was removed by the Blue Flag organization, after a heated public spat involving the Town, the FOS, Environmental Defense, and the Ministry of Natural Resources over the removal of native plant species from the Sauble welcome sign planters, and beach-raking close to the dunes.
Sauble Beach was awarded the second Blue Flag designation in North America in 2005.
The FOS called the move a “slap in the face,” at the time – but Strachan says the FOS isn’t interested in having the Blue Flag return to Sauble anytime soon.
In hindsight, Strachan called the Blue Flag program “too restrictive,” and says the FOS is eager to “re-establish a bond with the Town.”
“We took the high road and stayed away,” said Strachan. We’ve always supported the mayor, just not on that topic. And council has been doing a great job getting things done.”
Jackson responded via email and said “it would be great if other community groups contributed to the Sauble Square.”
Jackson said the new square will benefit SBP residents as much as it will appeal to seasonal visitors.
Strachan says the Town Square project should be at the forefront of community life in Sauble, and ideally would take shape as an amphitheatre to showcase art, music and culture.
The project suits the FOS’s mantra to “preserve and conserve” as well, says Strachan. It would drive crowds towards the Town Square, rather than closer to the dunes after car shows and festivals, leaving the finite beach features alone.
“It just feels good thinking about it,” says Strachan.

High Water Levels once again threaten our Delicate Shoreline

posted Feb 16, 2016, 11:59 AM by FSB Information

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