Central council seeks approval from MNR on Prov beach work

Tom Sasvari

The Recorder

MINDEMOYA—Council for the Municipality of Central Manitoulin wants to clean debris from the east side of the Providence Bay beach, but must have the work approved by the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR), the latter of which has concerns the work would disrupt the endangered Pitcher’s thistle found on the beach.

“As Derek (Stephens) said, we are only looking at the water area for the work to be done,” stated councillor Adam McDonald, at a meeting last week. “We know where the Pitcher’s thistle is, but this is not where we want the beach cleaned. It is the water’s edge area that we are looking at.”

The issue was raised as council had received a recommendation from its public works committee, “that staff contact the MNR to obtain permission to clean debris from the east side of the Providence Bay beach and further that the works department complete the clean up as soon as possible.”

It was pointed out by councillor Pat MacDonald that extensive clean up work has already been carried out on the beach so far this year.

This is just a matter of getting the work permits from the MNR, said Ruth Frawley, municipal clerk.

However, “given the time frames we are being given, this is short notice,” added councillor Bev Cannard-Pearson.

“Council has allowed cleaning to be done on the beach and volunteers did the work,” said councillor Derek Stephens. “I don’t like the memo we received from the MNR at all. Why can’t we clean the area near the water? It is not close to the Pitcher’s thistle.”

“We should be consulting with the MNR, who can tell us where we can do this work, and not just go in and do it,” said Reeve Gerry Strong.

“I understand it is our beach, but there would also be a hefty fine if we disturb this species (Pitcher’s thistle),” said councillor Pat MacDonald.

Councillor Gloria Haner suggested, “I would like to see a plan developed for the beach on an annual basis.”

Mr. Strong agreed with the plan for the beach in conjunction with the MNR being established, “So we would not have to be concerned with what we can actually do on the beach, and risk a possible fine.”

It was further suggested by Mr. McDonald there is nothing wrong with the proposed motion, but approval needs to be provided by the MNR for the work to be carried out.

“There has been a request made to clean the debris where the water is, not where they not where it (Pitcher’s thistle) is,” said Mr. Stephens. “We know where it is; the motion says contact the MNR and obtain permission for the work to be done. We should get in touch with them to get approval, but when we get this I’d like to see the work done as soon as possible.”

“We could contact the ministry to do a plan annually for the beach, and if the feedback we receive for the work to clean up the debris is given, we could go ahead with this work as soon as possible,” said Mr. Strong.

Council passed the recommended motion and will contact the MNR to do create an annual work plan for the Providence Bay beach with the debris clean up work to be done immediately, should the MNR allow it.