The Ontario government has some changes in store when it comes to floating accommodations but they’re looking for public feedback first.
According to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF), Ontario is seeing an increase in the number and types of vessels or structures being used for overnight accommodation on Ontario’s lakes and rivers.
The MNRF says they’ve heard increasing concerns related to floating accommodations. Floating accommodations are floating structures designed principally to provide accommodation for longer stays (i.e., similar to a cottage) rather than for the purposes of camping or navigating.
In March 2022 the Ministry sought input through the Environmental Registry of Ontario (ERO) bulletin 019-5119 on the use of floating accommodations on public lands covered by water. Generally, respondents expressed that the current rules for camping on water were too permissive, says the MNRF. Almost all respondents were opposed to floating accommodations.
Some of the concerns raised about floating accommodations included:
- impacts to waterways, islands and access
- impacts to water quality, aquatic plants (e.g., wild rice in northwest), lake beds, fish, wildlife and habitat
- persons occupying public lands without authorization and excluding others from using that land
- noise pollution, aesthetic, and privacy-related impacts to waterfront private property owners
- public safety concerns and emergency services (e.g., fire response)
- wastewater management (grey and black water discharge)
- commercial use including short-term rentals
- increased volume of stationary vessels or structures on waterways contributing to greater risk of collisions, and congestion in desired areas for mooring
- lack of payment of property taxes and application of building permits
As a result, the government has put forward a number of changes including:
- change the conditions that must be met when camping on water
- clarify what can be a camping unit on water
- harmonize non-resident and resident camping rules
- make other minor clarifications
Now the government wants to hear what you think of the proposed changes. You can find more information and provide your input here.
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