The Township of Minden Hills is home to approximately 2,500 lakes and rivers which together cover almost 100 square kilometers and provides more than 2,900 kilometers of shoreline. The health of these lakes and rivers is critical to supporting a resilient natural environment and ensuring the continued access to clean drinking water, and the recreational and aesthetic amenities that these features support for which our local economy is deeply rooted in.
As a part of the Vision for the Township of Minden Hills set out in the Official Plan:
The natural environment and open space in Minden Hills is fundamental to the identity of the Township and through this Official Plan and its implementation, Minden Hills will become a leader in sustainability aimed at protecting the natural environment and the clean air and water that it provides. It is also recognized that maintaining the health and well-being of the citizens of Minden Hills is integral to the development of a sustainable, economically viable and socially vibrant community.
The following information has been provided to assist property owners wishing to do works in the shoreline areas.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry is responsible for issuing permits under the Public Lands Act which applies to the beds of most lakes and rivers; shore lands covered or seasonally inundated by the water of a lake, river, stream or pond; and
When you don't need a work permit
Activities that do not require a work permit:
- undertake minor road maintenance on public land
- place a registered ice fishing hut on the ice
- install a water line, service cable or heat loop for private residential use
- remove a dock or boathousethat does not involve dredging
- construct or place structures that are in physical contact with 15 square meters or less of the shore lands fronting your property (e.g. docks, single-storey boathouses)
Other activities are exempt, provided you follow the rules as laid out in the ministry’s regulations. If you follow all of the rules you don't need a permit to:
- construct buildings on a mining claim
- dredging shore lands previously dredged
- maintain, repair or replace erosion control structures on shore lands
- relocate rocks on shore lands
- remove invasive aquatic plants
- remove native aquatic plants
When you need a work permit
Activities that require a work permit:
- build a new erosion control structure or change the dimensions of an existing erosion control structure
- the placement of fill on shore lands (infilling lake or river bed , or building an erosion control structure) for any other purpose
- create a new dredge or expand an existing dredge
- construct a building or structure, except for building(s) registered for mining purposes
- construct or place a structure or combination of structures that are in physical contact with more than 15 square meters of shore lands (e.g. docks with large cribs)
- construct a road, except where constructed under the authority of the Crown Forest Sustainability Act
- construct a trail, except when constructed under the authority of the Crown Forest Sustainability Actor for mineral exploration purposes
- construct a water crossing, such as a bridge, culvert or causeway, except when constructed under the authority of the Crown Forest Sustainability Act
- remove native aquatic vegetation along the shoreline of Georgian Bay, Lake Huron and on the Canadian Shield
- if you conduct activities subject to exemptions but cannot follow the rules
In addition to a work permit, you may require authorization to occupy Crown land.
In order to qualify for a work permit the proposal must conform to the municipality’s Official Plan. To assist the MNRF in this capacity, applicants wishing to obtain a work permit must first obtain consent from the Township of Minden Hills confirming such as some works such as hardening of shorelines would not conform to the policy direction of the Official Plan. To obtain municipal consent, a copy of the plans indicating the proposed works are to be submitted together with a recent picture of the shoreline together with a <Municipal Consent Form> and may be submitted to email@example.com
Further information on MNRF work permits can be found at: https://www.ontario.ca/page/streamlined-crown-land-work-permit
The Township of Minden Hills’ Zoning By-law implements the policy direction of the Official Plan by prohibiting or regulating buildings and structures at or near the shoreline. The following structures are permitted to be located at or near the shoreline:
- Gazebo or outdoor sauna provided it is located at least 10m. (32'10") from the High Water Mark, and 6m. (19'8") from the side lot line, and subject to a maximum size of 9 m2 (96.9sq.ft.)
- Pump house provided it is located at least 10m. (32'10") from the High Water Mark, meets the required setback from the side lot line (e.g., 4.5m. (14'9") in the Shoreline Residential (SR) Zone), and subject to a maximum size of 2.5 m2 (26.9sq.ft.) and a maximum height of 2m. (6'7").
- Docks may project up to 15m. (49'3") into the water, or, when projecting into a watercourse measuring less than 30m in width, the lesser of either 6m or 30% of the width the watercourse and provided the dock provided it meets the required setback from the side lot line. Except on a narrow watercourse, where he 15 metre projection of a dock ends in a water depth of less than 1m. (3'3") (measured from the High Water Mark), the dock may be extended until a water depth of 1metre is achieved at the end of the dock to a maximum projection of 25m. (82').
- Decks provided it meets the required setback from the side lot line (e.g., 4.5m. (14'9") in the Shoreline Residential (SR) Zone)
The maximum cumulative width of all shoreline structures may not exceed 30% of the lot frontage to a maximum of 15m. (49'3").
Within the Township of Minden Hills, boathouses and boatports are prohibited, however; existing boathouses and boatports may be considered legal non-conforming and would be allowed to continue to exist.
While not all buildings require building permits, all buildings and structures must comply with the Township’s Zoning By-law. Information concerning Building Permits can be found at here.
In certain areas of the Township a municipal road travels between the water and the adjacent property as illustrated below.
The following information is provided for convenience. Additional information and applications can be found under the in the “Shore Road Allowance Occupation Application” dropdown on the Planning Applications page.
For New Docks
The Township will consider applications to use the road allowance for the purposes of placing a dock provided that:
- The applicant is the owner of the property is directly opposite the shoreline road allowance, or where the applicant has deeded access to the same.
- The dock can be located at least 3 metres from the travelled portion of the road (a lesser setback may be permitted at the discretion of the Director of Public Works).
- The dock can meet the requirements of the Zoning By-law (as noted in the “Shoreline Structures” dropdown).
If approved, the applicant will be required to enter into a license of occupation agreement with the Township and provide proof of insurance in the amount of $5,000,000 naming the Township of Minden Hills as an additional insured.
For Existing Docks
Where a dock had legally existed prior to August 31, 2006, such dock may remain provided that:
- Any improvements are limited to the same size/square footage as the original dock, but not necessarily the same configuration, and subject to the requirements of the Zoning By-law (as noted in the “Shoreline Structures” dropdown).
- Any renovation or replacement of structure(s) where more than 10% of the dock is on the original road allowance leading to water, the dock must be relocated directly in front of the benefitting property and comply with all required setbacks or receive Council approval.
For Docks On Minden’s Riverwalk
No new docks are permitted. Existing docks may remain and any improvements are limited to the same size/square footage as the original dock, but not necessarily the same configuration, and subject to the requirements of the Zoning By-law (as noted in the “Shoreline Structures” dropdown)
- The dock platform and any supporting members shall be structurally sound.
- The dock shall be securely anchored to the shoreline (the use of rope is not an acceptable method).
- The shoreline access to the dock should be achieved by appropriate “ramping” with no hazardous gaps in the approach.
- There shall be no sharp metal protrusions from any part of the deck or its anchoring mechanism. Metal components shall be appropriately protected.