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Council majority rejects Inn's 'noise exemption

Posted July 9, 2019

The Nottawasaga Resort failed to secure an exemption from the noise control bylaw that would have permitted grass cutting on its two golf courses to begin at 6 am each day, an hour earlier than the bylaw permits.

Two residents from the Briars communities which ring the Nottawasaga and Ridge courses, told councillors they learned about the resort's request after the agenda was posted Friday.

Chuck Waterman told council he couldn't understand why they weren't notified in advance "given it has the potential to affect 1,400 residents."

"I also noted this is supposed to go to council for final approval tonight," said Mr. Waterman. "It's like it's done. I guess that's the message. So that process concerns me greatly."

The exemption request was included on the committee agenda and also as the sole item on the agenda of the special meeting of council attached to the end of the regular session.

"The fact that it's rushing from here to final approval tonight I think is disrespectful to the community and I would ask council to think seriously about that."

New Tecumseth Clerk Cindy Maher told council the Biffis application followed the same procedure as other requests for noise exemptions, including an item on the same agenda seeking one time relief from the noise bylaw in August for a street party in Tottenham.

Dino Biffis told councillors the resort has been performing golf course mainteance before 7 am for more than three decades but noted they were advised recently from bylaw enforcement to apply for the exemption.

"It's no secret they are golf course communities," said Mr. Biffis. "It's not a secret that it starts at that time. We thought we were operating under (former) Tecumseth (Township) bylaws."

He said the greens are mowed everyday while the fairways "maybe every second day" and the cutting always starts in the same place each day.

The early start times for cutting the grass is to accommodate the first tee times of each morning at 6:30 am. Mr. Biffis suggested golf courses in other municipalities are afforded relief from the noise bylaw.

Mayor Rick Milne and Deputy Mayor Richard Norcross both spoke in favour citing Mr. Biffis's comments that they've been doing it over 30 years.

The vote at committee ended in a 5-5 tie which defeated the motion. The special meeting was still held, but prior to ratifying the committee decision, mayor Milne altered the motion's wording to include "not be approved" which if the same 5-5 vote would have occurred would have reversed the committee decision. The special meeting vote was 6-4 rejecting the exemption. Because it wasn't a recorded vote, it wasn't immediately confirmed which councillor flipped their vote. Mayor Milne, DM Norcross, Ward 1 councillor Wayne Noye, and Ward 8 councillor Alan Lacey supported the exemption.

All stories, unless otherwise noted,
by Tony Veltri