Sauble BeachWhere do we go from here in Sauble Beach? It started back in 2007 when a little bird, the piping plover returned to Sauble Beach after decades. This bird has been listed on the endangered species list since 1985 in the Great Lakes region. They have had their habitat lost or degradation because  commercial, residential and recreational developments along our shores.

In June and July 2011, Town of South Bruce Peninsula council was advised by the then Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) what could be done with regards to beach maintenance. The Town went ahead an raked the beach in an area that was in contravention to section 10 of the Act. The MNR investigated and order was given to rehabilitate the habitat. Meaning putting back the “woody debris” that was removed. The MNR has investigated beach maintenance for a number of years and has given advice to council and in letters.

In April 2017, the beach was again raked by a numbered company with a direct connection to Deputy Mayor Kirkland. After this was investigated by MNR charges were laid in this case. On 11 August 2017, three council members voted against a motion and then allowed $10,000 to be moved to hire the bulldozer. End of August, 2017, the bulldozing began which led to a second charge by MNR.

Fast forward to today, two convictions, one appeal and about $1,000,000 of taxpayer’s money has been spent on legal fees to defend actions that never should have happened.

In December 2020, the TSBP planned to destroy fragile dunes at Sauble Beach to make more room for parking. Think of Joni Mitchell song. This would have also harmed the habitat as well as breach other provincial orders and laws.

This went to court and the permit to complete this work was quashed, meaning no work can be completed as planned. The costs are yet to be determined but in excess of $300,000. Today we now know, that the TSBP has planned to appeal a second time the two recent convictions based on one word, “damage”. if anyone believes that the Crown cannot prove again that “damage” occurred to habitat, I have a bridge to sell you.

This decision was hidden behind closed doors at Town hall, this decision was not put out in a press release, this decision will cost us.

When is enough, enough? Two million? Would that be enough?

Tom LaForme