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Saturday, August 26, 2017

Complaints Over Beach Clearing

Sauble Beach | by Claire McCormack  

Mayor not daunted that local group's complaint has halted beach clearing.

A Recently Cleared Portion of Sauble Beach  

About a week after getting approval from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to clear Sauble Beach of its overgrown vegetation, South Bruce Peninsula is now getting complaints about plowing the beach.

Mayor Janice Jackson says having the endangered piping plover bird meant the Ministry forbade the Town from clearing the beach all summer.

She says now they  have started to clear it, and the Friends of Sauble Beach group have made complaints to the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority about how it's being done.

A Facebook post on the Friends of Sauble Beach page shows a complaint that a large amount of dune was bulldozed. 

Jackson says they're concerned about loss of sand due to reduced dune protection.

But she says the grass covered beach was attracting geese, snakes and sand fleas and people were upset to be losing their beach to vegetation.

According to Jackson, there was a huge outcry over the rapid disappearance of the sand beneath shrubs and grasses but the ministry was threatening a $300,000 fine if the town raked it.

Jackson says now that the plovers have gone south for the winter, the town was given ministry approval to clear it.

In light of the complaints, the conservation authority has asked the town to stop clearing the beach until they can meet on Monday and discuss the complaints.

Jackson is confident the town will be able to resume its work shortly and she says there's a lot they plan to do,
"It's too far progressed really to go at that vegetation with anything other than a bulldozer. After that we're going to have to till it and then cultivate it to get all the dead roots and everything out of the sand," says Jackson.

She says the bulldozer won't be used on the entire stretch of the beach, but rather the parts that have the thickest vegetation.

Jackson says the town has gotten all the proper approvals and if the Conservation Authority wants them to get a permit, which she says they've never had to do before, then Jackson says they'll get one.

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