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COLUMN: Tiny Township chooses beaches over good neighbourly relations

'Greed, possessiveness and pettiness should never rule the day,' writer says, noting Tiny council seemingly kowtows to a small, yet vocal, group of wealthy property owners, thereby hurting local residents

You would be hard pressed to find a worse neighbour than the one created by Tiny Township's council.

Like the neighbour, friend or relative who takes and takes, but rarely gives, Tiny remains an oddity in the general camaraderie and generosity that exists within the broader North Simcoe community.

This time around, some waterfront residents along with township staff and council are pushing for the municipality to expand permit parking from April 15 to October 15, from the current May 15 to September 15.

They’ll try to throw up COVID-19 as an excuse, but those living along the beach have likely been pushing for this for years. In fact, they would likely prefer that the township somehow create gated beach communities.

And the thing of it is, they’re not really hurting the ones they say they’re targeting.

This is a clear attack on those living in Midland and Penetanguishene, who either aren’t lucky enough to obtain one of the township’s measly 175 seasonal passes set aside for those living in neighbouring communities or simply can’t afford the $100 cost.

Toronto-area residents are likely not packing up the car to head to Tiny for a brisk beach walk in late April or early October, but someone living locally might think it’s a nice thing to do after a long day of work.

That’s who this new set of Draconian rules will really hurt.

If you’re not fortunate enough to secure one of the mighty municipality’s seasonal passes, well, you’re out of luck.

It’s also interesting to note that most of the complaints filed to council by beachfront owners always seemingly describe the 'intruders' as drunk, combative and not toilet-trained.

How can that segment of our society be the ones always freeloading on ‘their’ beaches? Peculiar.

The township is also planning to hike fines for those parking without a permit. And the fine is a lot more than a Tiny resident would pay for parking illegally in Midland or Penetanguishene.

And speaking of the pittance represented by the number of permits available, Midland and Penetanguishene should invoke a similar clause, whereby only allowing 175 Tiny residents to use their recreation facilities along with their libraries annually.

I wonder if Midland should be charging Tiny residents to park at the rec centre, library or near the tennis and pickleball courts.

Can you imagine the outrage then?

And don’t get me wrong, there are some wonderful people living in Tiny.

The residents of Lafontaine, Wyevale and Perkinsfield along with those living in rural areas and away from the beaches are beyond reproach and understand the importance of being a good neighbour.

As someone who grew up in the area, I remember going to the beaches at will, without a permit or having to worry about being approached by the township’s bylaw brigade because I was walking along someone’s precious pile of sand.

But while those days are likely long gone, the township has the chance to redeem itself in the eyes of its neighbours and, perhaps, even its own citizens who can’t find beach parking, especially since Tiny’s no-parking signs start miles away from the water.

Don’t be so easily impressed by wealth.

Some of your beloved beachfront owners do not represent what it means to be Canadian, but rather display its far less-desirable underbelly.

Greed, possessiveness and pettiness should never rule the day.

Please, don’t let the sand cloud your vision, but return to being the good neighbour you used to be.

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Andrew Philips

About the Author: Andrew Philips

Editor Andrew Philips is a multiple award-winning journalist whose writing has appeared in some of the country’s most respected news outlets. Originally from Midland, Philips returned to the area from Québec City a decade ago.
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