South Bruce Peninsula Mayor Janice Jackson at an area of Sauble Beach north of 11th Street that is now overgrown with weeds and beach grasses. DENIS LANGLOIS/THE SUN TIMES

South Bruce Peninsula’s mayor says the town is prepared to fight the province “to the end” in hopes of once again being able to till and properly maintain the sandy shoreline at Sauble Beach.

Janice Jackson said she feels the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry “has taken over our beach” by not allowing the town to clean it of overgrown weeds and debris because of the presence of piping plovers.

She said the agency is even threatening to fine the town up to $300,000 for tilling the beach in early April before the endangered shorebirds arrived for the season.

“What Kathleen Wynne’s government is doing to Sauble Beach is harming our tourism and our residents’ enjoyment of their beach. It’s completely unacceptable,” she said Monday.

Jackson said the beach looks horrible, especially at the north end.

In some areas, roots are sticking out of the sand right by the water’s edge and large patches of wild plants and grasses stretch from the dunes to the lake.

A spokesperson for the MNRF, in an e-mailed response to questions, said only certain parts of Sauble Beach that provide habitat for piping plovers are protected.

Maimoona Dinani confirmed the agency is currently investigating a complaint regarding the disruption of piping plover habitat at Sauble Beach.

“As we are in the early stages we cannot yet confirm whether or not an offence has been committed and therefore no fines have been issued,” Dinani said.

“As we are actively investigating this matter, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”

Jackson said she is not afraid of the town being fined.

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