Innisfil quashes resident’s request for on-water boathouse
By Janis Ramsay Innisfil Journal
The Town of Innisfil will likely have another planning appeal on its hands after council rejected an on-water boathouse proposal.
At the Feb. 7 meeting, council denied a request from the owner of 3567 Crescent Harbour Rd., Andrew Rivkin and the Beaumont Family Trust, to build a 2,700-square-foot three-slip boathouse on top of an existing dock.
HOW THEY VOTED:
Ward 2 Richard Simpson
Ward 3 Donna Orsetti
Ward 5 Bill Loughead
Ward 6 Carolyn Payne
Ward 7 Rob Nicol
Deputy Mayor Lynn Dollin
Ward 1 Doug Lougheed
Ward 4 Stan Daurio
Mayor Gord Wauchope
Prior to the decision, council heard residents’ feedback.
Jodi Napolitano has lived on the road since 2013 and believes the boathouse takes away from what a cottage means to her family.
“We find it invasive to the waterfront. Most of these structures have been banned on other lakes due to the environmental impact,” she said.
Russell Bajurny spoke in support of the zoning amendment, saying it will send a strong message to the rich people that the town is open for business.
“Mr. Rivkin has money, power and connections. We need more people like him in the community,” Bajurny said, adding we don’t need “nobodies.”
“The rich are the ones that can better help the community and everyone, of course.”
Toronto personal tax and estate planning lawyer Lindsay Histrop then presented a slide show reviewing why her neighbour’s boathouse should be denied.
Histrop’s family has owned the cottage property for decades and approving the request would be devastating, she said.
“This is about a boat. This is public land, it belongs to all of us,” Histrop said. “There is no permit for this.”
But Innisfil lawyer Marvin Geist, representing Rivkin and the Beaumont Family Trust, said the existing dock has government approval.
“There were no environmental impacts associated with this proposal, as has been confirmed by all of the government agencies involved in this rezoning process,” Geist said.
He added town staff is in favour of the zoning bylaw amendments.
Council was torn about the decision.
“This has been a stressful topic, but as I got through all the notes, we can’t make this an emotional thing,” Ward 6 Coun. Carolyn Payne said. “Right now, the law is in favour of Mr. Rivkin’s boathouse.”
The crowd moaned and Deputy Mayor Lynn Dollin — who chaired the meeting in Mayor Gord Wauchope’s absence — had to hush the crowd.
Payne said she had to vote against it.
Complicating council’s decision is the fact that the Our Shore policy, a shoreline permit system, is currently under appeal. If Our Shore was in force, this boathouse wouldn’t be allowed.
Ward 1 Coun. Doug Lougheed said he’d approve the rezoning while “holding his nose.”
He warned any Ontario Municipal Board appeal would be evaluated on its planning merits.
“I don’t like the way this was presented, I’ll call it shenanigans,” Lougheed said.
Dollin wasn’t in favour of an on-water boathouse, but added she didn’t want to waste taxpayer money with another OMB appeal, and it would be costly as town staff was in favour of the proposal.
Shortly before the recorded vote, Histrop dropped her documents on the floor and started silently sobbing.
In the end, the zoning amendment was rejected 5-3, with Dollin, Lougheed and Ward 4 Coun. Stan Daurio in favour.