Trailer Turmoil: Northern Ontario Towns Grapple with Bylaws Amid Expanding Cottage Country

In response to the rising cost of waterfront property and the expansion of southern Ontario’s “cottage country,” trailers are appearing throughout rural northern Ontario. Many towns and townships are now enacting bylaws to regulate the location, environmental impact, and permit fees associated with trailers. Sables-Spanish River, a municipality on the north shore of Lake Huron, is proposing a bylaw that would charge $700 per year for setting up a trailer on vacant land. The bylaw has been met with mixed reactions and concerns about constitutionality.

Mayor Kevin Burke says that the bylaw is up for a final reading, but could be amended or sent to a community committee for review. He emphasizes the need for regulation, as the trailer situation is expected to worsen. According to Burke, true growth involves building homes and increasing the tax base, rather than filling townships with transient trailers.

Other towns in northern Ontario have experienced similar debates over trailer bylaws. French River, for instance, has a bylaw limiting homeowners to one trailer, provided they obtain a $400 permit and pass inspections for septic systems and greywater disposal. The bylaw has been appealed to the Ontario Land Tribunal, with opponents concerned about potential large-scale developments of house-like trailers.

In Machar Township, camp owner Judy Luffman has been advocating for more trailers to be allowed, arguing that it benefits the community and local businesses. However, she has faced resistance from the local council. As a result, the regulation of trailers remains a contentious issue in northern Ontario.

You can see the proposed bylaw here:

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