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Life's a beach: 'Unique speed limit' encourages drivers to slow down

Public works director shares safety announcements for speed limits on water and roads along Tiny Township western shore during council meeting
2020-09-17 ap
Balm Beach in Tiny Township.

As a series of brief updates for the benefit of beach users, Tiny Township public works director Tim Leitch let residents know of upcoming municipal matters, including a humorous gaffe a bit further away.

The three items appeared in the announcements section of the recent regular meeting of council, and pertained to in-water structures in front of municipal properties as well as reminders of speed limits in the waters and along the residential areas of the shoreline.

To the first point, Leitch’s announcement was fairly straightforward: in-water structures require the permission of the property owner that is at the water’s edge.

“Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen some increase in water structures and some concerns from residents (and) we’ve done some homework with the Ministry of Natural Resources,” said Leitch. “This is just to announce that the township will not be allowing these types of structures in front of any municipally-owned beaches.”

As for the second announcement, Leitch addressed the in-water speed limit along the western shore extending from the northern Concession 17 area down to the town-line between Tiny and Wasaga Beach.

“Tiny has a very unique speed limit in Canada,” noted Leitch. “Normally, it’s 10 kilometres per hour within 30 metres of the shoreline. A few years ago, we implemented a new one through Transport Canada that has a maximum speed limit of 10 kilometres per hour within 300 metres of the shoreline.”

However, Leitch’s faux pas occurred as he described the postings along public areas and from municipal communications to inform residents. The audience in attendance for the meeting were mostly protesters regarding a different matter, and energy in the room was high.

“We just want to make sure for the safety of all of our beach users – that speed limit of 10 kilometres per hour, it’s within 300 kilometres of the shoreline,” said Leitch to the amusement of some in attendance. Unaware he continued, “300 kilometres when you’re on water doesn’t look that far–“– or 300 metres,” Leitch said in realization. He quickly joked: “300 kilometres, yeah, so you can’t speed between here and Illinois,” causing laughter to erupt in the council chambers.

Returning to the matter of safety, Leitch explained that without objects in the water to gauge speed, awareness of speed could be “very deceiving,” adding that users should “use common sense” when near shore.

“Stay within the 10 kilometres per hour, especially when you see swimmers, people using the water; they’re hard to see,” Leitch said. “And this is enforceable by the OPP (who) will be out along our shorelines…” He additionally requested “people to be patient and take your time while you get far away from shore to protect the safety of our beach users.”

For the final announcement, Leitch reminded residents that a 40 kilometre per hour policy for Tiny Beaches Road North and South and many of its connecting side streets had been implemented last year, cleaning up and standardizing a large number of bylaws into one as a result.

Archives of council meetings are available to view on the township’s YouTube channel.


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Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

About the Author: Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Derek Howard covers Midland and Penetanguishene area civic issues under the Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the Government of Canada.
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