Noise and Notification

Concerts by the Lake

For decades Desert Lake Campground has been having up to 12 open air concerts a summer on the shores of Desert Lake. For decades residents have complained about the noise negatively affecting their quality of life. Over the past couple of summers this conflict has “come to a head” with the OPP being called. New owners of the resort responded last summer by ending the concerts ended at 11pm. The Township responded by saying that the noise bylaw must be respected.

South Frontenac’s noise bylaw was passed to regulate noise that is “likely to disturb” residents: including electronically amplified music that “disturbs the peace and comfort of a person.” The Campground needed and, last winter, applied for an exemption to the noise bylaw to hold open air concerts this summer.

Council has granted other exemptions. The Great Canadian Guitar Festival has been exempted, as were the mud drag races and, occasionally, family celebrations, like weddings. Last year, fireworks were further restricted primarily to maintain some semblance of peace and quiet in the evenings.

There are over 40 campgrounds in the Township and none have regular live bands. Maybe because they offer a peaceful vacation, most of our campgrounds are full most of the time. Campgrounds are not meant to be concert venues: it is not compatible with lake life. Sound travels on lakes making lakes close residential communities. It is hard to imagine why a loud music event would be allowed in any residential community, urban or rural, on a regular basis.

Seven Councilors voted in favour of a noise bylaw exemption that will permit four live music concerts at Desert Lake Campground this summer. I and Councilor Revill voted against. The exemption includes a stipulation that the concerts must end at 10pm and bylaw enforcement will be present. Whether further exemptions are granted next year will partially depend on the response of the residents and the Campground to this year’s concerts.

The exemption allowed by Council will likely continue the tension between the campground and residents. It will continue to hurt the quality of life on the lake and sets a precedent that could undercut all communities in South Frontenac.

Notification for Subdivisions Proposals

Last year South Frontenac Council passed expanded notification for public input on proposed subdivisions to allow all residents, permanent and seasonal, a reasonable opportunity to comment. When Frontenac County took over the all aspects of the subdivision approval process Council forwarded our expanded notification provisions to the County for adoption.

The County is now asking for public input on the suitability of expanded notification for residents.

Our Council supported more notification for two main reasons. New subdivision and condominium proposals are complicated, involving many studies and issues, like water is low water areas, proximity to wetlands, and overcrowding on lakes and roads. To prepare adequate comment on these proposals takes time.

Second, many residents of South Frontenac are away for significant amounts of time during the year. Expanding notification gives the time needed to notify these residents and for them to comment.

If you wish to comment on the importance of extended notification please contact the County by May 29: Mail to: County Clerk, Frontenac County, 2069 Battersea Road, Glenburnie, ON, K0H 1S0; or, email your comments to:

The requirement to ask for something that has already been supported by South Frontenac is another reason that we need to bring back full control over subdivisions to the Township.

OMB Hearings

May will be a busy month for South Frontenac at the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).
Two weeks have been set aside to hear the appeal of the County’s approval of a 13-unit subdivision in Hartington. The hearing starts on May 8 at 11 am.

The appeal of the changes to the zoning bylaw intended to add clarity to the 2003 rules on development in the 30-meter buffer around lakes is scheduled for two days starting May 25 at 10:30am.

Either hearing could not proceed if the sides reach an agreement ahead of time. Both hearings will take place in the Township Council Chambers. The Hearings are open to the public.

Bedford Road Improvements

Bedford Road from the CRCA dam in Sydenham to Alton road, including the Bedford- Portland Corner, is scheduled for redevelopment this year. A meeting to review the proposal from Public Works and invite comments from the public is being held on Wednesday, May 10 from 7-9 pm in the Township Hall. Everyone is welcome. Come along, find out what is proposed and have your say.


About Ross Sutherland

retired nurse, researcher, public health care activist.
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