Construction on the Beach

Site alteration and construction in Georgian Bay or along the shoreline requires special consideration. If you are looking to develop of a shoreline property, install a break wall, build a boathouse or pergola, please take the time to review the information below.

Please note, if access is required to private property across municipal properties/beaches, an application for Municipal Property Access must be obtained from the Township Public Works Department. 



Setbacks to the 178 metre Elevation of Georgian Bay

​For properties along Georgian Bay, specific zoning provisions regarding setbacks are required in regard to the identification of the 178 metre Elevation of Georgian Bay on an updated survey prepared by an Ontario Land Surveyor. This is the responsibility of the property owner to provide and/or obtain in conjunction with any required building permit. Please note that even if a structure does not require a building permit, it must comply with all municipal Zoning By-law standards. Please visit the Township Zoning By-law​ for more information. 

Building Permits

Retaining Walls only require a building permit from the Township when it exceeds 1 meter in height and is adjacent to the entrance to a building or public property, or a property to which the public is permitted, as it would be considered a designated structure as per the Ontario Building Code. Otherwise, it is exempt from the requirements of the Ontario Building Code. Retaining walls are regulated under Zoning By-law 22-075. For more information, please visit our Zoning By-law webpage or contact the Township Planning Department.

All other structures (such as decks, covered porches, pergolas, boathouses, etc.), except light standards, and small signs, require a building permit, are subject to the regulations of the Ontario Building Code and the Township of Tiny Zoning By-law.


Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forest (NDMNRF)

ND​MNRF regulates shoreline activities under the authority of the Public Lands Act.  In accordance with Ontario Regulation 239/13, certain activities on shore lands (lands covered or seasonally inundated by the water of a lake, river, stream or pond) and public land (any land under the control and management of NDMNRF) are prohibited unless carried out in accordance with a work permit.  Please note that some activities may be exempt from requiring a work permit if the person complies with the requirements of the exemption.  For more information on Crown land work permits and to determine if your proposal requires a work permit, please visit the province of Ontario's website.

For any work permit inquiries, please email the MNRF. If you have any other questions, please contact the NDMNRF Midhurst office at 705-725-7500.


Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO)

​Proponents looking to complete work in and around water must be familiar with the federal Fisheries Act. For projects near water please visit the Department of Fisheries and Ocean​​s Canada web​site​ for more information. Appropriate mitigation and avoidance measures need to be included in project design to prevent the harmful alteration, disruption or destruction of fish habitat. The DFO recommend proponents submit a Request for Review form (no charge) to have a project review completed by the DFO. Reviews can take up to 2 months, so please allow adequate time for review. Measures to protect fish and fish habitat should be incorporated into project design. Please visit the DFO website for more information regarding protection measures. 

If you have any questions, please contact the DFO Triage group via email.


Best practices for Shoreline Properties

The Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation, in consultation with agencies from the Federal and Provincial Government, the Severn Sound Environmental Association (SSEA) and local Conservation Authorities, developed a Southern Georgian Bay Shoreline Stewardship Guide in December 2013. The Guide provides background information to understand the unique shoreline processes and natural environments that have formed along southern Georgian Bay. It provides science-based information on these topics to enable informed decisions about how important the role of individual property stewardship plays in safeguarding southern Georgian Bay as a whole.

This guide and other resources including information on dune planting and coastal wetlands are available at the Lake Huron Coastal Centre

The SSEA also has natural shorelines information on their website.