Bob Lake cottagers offer boat launch solution
|By Mark Arike - Staff Writer | September 7, 2017
Fifteen property owners on Bob Lake have banded together to buy a piece of property to ensure they have access to a boat launch. Led by cottager Gerry Meade, they recently requested Minden Hills council approve a zoning bylaw amendment to allow them to proceed.
For many years, residents had been using an existing boat launch on private property. It was thought that the launch was public, however that wasn’t the case. The property owner blocked access to it last year, resulting in a frustrating situation for boaters.
Meade went to council in May to seek its help.
“The town has a moral and legal obligation to the property owners on Bob Lake to correct this situation,” he said at the time, suggesting a prescriptive easement as one solution.
The township looked into various options, but was unable to offer a permanent solution. At the time, council passed a motion declaring it had become a private matter and the township was no longer involved.
The subject property is on Coaster Trail, a private road. It’s about five acres and has 315 feet of frontage along the lake.
“The reason it’s been limited to a small number [of property owners] is that the access to the property goes across easements, across private land,” said Meade, as the proponent, during a public meeting Aug. 31.
All those private landowners are part of the ownership of the Coaster Trail property, he said. Meade’s property is adjacent to it and most of the easement goes across his land.
One resident came forward to express her written concerns. But she said she felt better about the launch after talking to some of the buyers.
In response, Meade promised it won’t become a commercial enterprise that charges boaters a fee. It will be gated and only the 15 property owners will be allowed to use it.
“We will have an agreement amongst those 15 owners that they cannot let others use it—period.”
He added they plan on following “all of the rules” and laws.
“We will be applying to the Ministry of Natural Resources [and Forestry] and other authorities for the necessary approvals.”
One resident spoke in favour of the plan.
“We think 15 people using one launch is more desirable for the environment than 15 new launches,” she said.
“The options that have been used in the past are dwindling. People who have let neighbours use their launches are withholding those privileges now because they are fearful of liability.”
Prior to the meeting, the township gave pubic notice pursuant to the Planning Act. Planning director Ian Clendening said they received three letters outlining traffic and safety concerns.
Coun. Pam Sayne said it seemed that the primary concern was safety. She wanted to confirm if the OPP would have access to the launch.
When it comes to police, first responders and the Trent-Severn Waterway, Reeve Brent Devolin said, “it certainly will be brought to light of all of those parties.”
The matter was deferred to the Sept. 28 council meeting for further discussion, said Devolin. All written and verbal submissions will be considered.
MARK ARIKE is a reporter for The Highlander.