I am writing to strongly oppose the application for a private dock at Ecclestone Beach and the tying of this development variance permit to public access to this historically and environmentally significant pocket beach. This flies contrary to all the strides this community has made in the past few years to restrict docks in sensitive marine areas and put the greater public interest above that of a private waterfront property owner.
Our beaches are our communal treasures, open and accessible to all. Where this is a traditional local destination for swimming, picnicking and family outings, it becomes a vital part of the fabric of a sharing, welcoming neighbourhood. Any proposal that threatens this reality must be thoroughly vetted and challenged, as the potential for permanent damage to this beautiful micro-beach is clear.
There should be no “trading off” of a variance to the setback bylaws in order to gain “permission” for our citizens to cross 30 feet of private land, in exchange for supporting such a dock application. If it destroys the ambiance of the beach, as those at Roger Curtis have certainly done, there is little point in providing access at all. The enjoyment of an undeveloped natural area is lost forever. And for what? The benefit of a property owner who already has waterfront land to luxuriate on, while those who can’t afford such privilege pay the price by caving to these demands?
This is unconscionable.
I support the effort of those who seek an alternate solution to providing beach access via the municipal right-of-way, thus separating this issue from that of the dock application, as is right. I believe a staircase is a viable, safe and publicly responsible course to follow, and have requested that council defer consideration of the development variance permit and delay moving forward with any decision on the dock application.
I also vehemently oppose this dock, under any circumstances.