The New Norm: 40 Foot Lake Front Lots?

A new waterfront lot with only 40 feet of frontage was given approval in principle at the last Committee of the Whole meeting in June. The zoning bylaw calls for new lots to have a minimum of 300 feet of frontage. In addition, the lot is 1.73 acres instead of the minimum 2.5 acres required in the zoning bylaw.

The argument was made that the piece of water front was not used and the lot was a special case. Latter in the same meeting support was given for Shield Shores, a new condominium subdivision proposed for Dog Lake, which includes three functional small water front lots over right of ways to back lots.

It was argued that these are not lots, they are ‘Right of Ways’ attached to back lots. That is true. Nonetheless, they provide deeded access to the water, just like a lot, and sole access to the water, just like a lot. If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck….

The Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw support large lake front lots to protect lakes. These small access frontages encourage back lot development, or subdivisions, on lakes, increasing the concentration of septic systems near shorelines. Second, large lots encourage natural shorelines: shoreline that provides habitat for 90% of the water’s species and provides a barrier to surface runoff. Both important factors in lake health. Many small lot access points increase the number of necessary shoreline disruptions.

It is reasonable for these small lake front owners to bring in some patio stones, create a fire pit, set up lawn chairs and a mesh bug tent next to the water. A BBQ and folding table would be appropriate, as well as a small pump house type of storage shed for supplies. Many would want to use a four-wheeler creating a significant path. All of these options are allowed in the current condominium proposal and in our zoning bylaws.

The Conservation Authority is recommending that there should be no docks at these access points though the developer is still arguing for small docks to accommodate non-motorized boats. Regardless of the final agreement, it would be unreasonable to limit the use of canoes and kayaks from these small water access points. And there will be continued pressure to build small docks.

It is worth noting that the Shield Shores condominium proposal has a common water access point for back lots in addition to the three narrow private access points and the maximum number of waterfront lots allowed on the site. The majority of Council gave approval to these provisions. Councillors Schjerning, Roberts and Revill all voiced their support. Councillor Sleeth joined them in supporting the creation of a lot with 40 foot frontage.

I would be interested in your comments on creating these narrow, about 40-foot-wide, functional lake front lots. It is a trend that has also started to show up at the Committee of Adjustment and one that I am concerned will weaken the health of our lakes.

Perth Road Fire Hall

A recommendation for a contractor to build the Perth Road Fire Hall is scheduled to come to Council on July 11. If all goes well, by the time of my next Councillor’s Report shovels will be in the ground.

Lake Reports

The Cataraqui Conservation Authority has produced monitoring reports on most lakes in the Township. They can be found at:
Water Quality and Vulnerability in South Frontenac

There will be a public meeting on Water Quality and its vulnerability in South Frontenac on August 22 in the Community Room of the Sydenham Library from 6:30-9pm. The event is free and everyone is welcome.

Sydenham’s History

A map of Sydenham’s many interesting historic sites can now be found on line at: . Thanks to Gini Trousdale, Wilma Kenny and the County for the website work.

The First Annual Lakes and Trails Festival

The first annual Lakes and Trails Festival is being held in Sydenham on July 15 from 10am to 2pm. Everyone is welcome and all events are free. It is being held at the Point Park. Featured activities include: a Bike Around the Lake; a Cycle Skills Rodeo; paddling on the lake; a historic walking tour of Sydenham Village; and a community BBQ.

A full Schedule of events, prizes and sponsors can be found at:

About Ross Sutherland

retired nurse, researcher, public health care activist.
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1 Response to The New Norm: 40 Foot Lake Front Lots?

  1. Steve says:

    I agree with you about small lakefront lots. I live on a small lake and if these were allowed here the traffic would destroy the lake in many ways.

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