Bob Lake launch saga comes to end
|By Alex Coop - Staff Writer | May 5, 2017|
Bob Lake residents will have to find other ways to get their boats in and out of the water this summer.
Reeve Brent Devolin delivered the news during a council meeting April 27.
“I wish it was a different outcome,” he said.
Last June, owners of a Bob Lake property placed barricades around a boat launch that had been used by boat owners for nearly 50 years. They cited liability concerns associated with owning the launch.
Thanks to an agreement between the property owner and the township last October, residents were given 11 days to retrieve their boats.
According to a staff report from Dec. 8, 20 boats were recorded by Kawartha Security Guard Service as removed by residents during the temporary boat launch arrangement from Sept. 30 to Oct. 10.
The temporary setup cost the township nearly $9,300. Legal fees, security and surveying contributed to the overall cost and required “considerable internal staff time,” the report says.
Devolin said no such agreement is on the horizon this time around, especially since the number of boats retrieved during that time was minimal.
“I think we’ve considered doing all of the things within our financial means,” he said.
David Gibb, a spokesman for the boaters, who also made a plea on their behalf last August during a council meeting, said the reason so few boats were retrieved during the 11-day period was because of miscommunication.
“We were told about 10 days before the window was opened that the entire thing might be delayed by an additional week,” Gibb told The Highlander. “That would have pushed the start date to Oct. 7 … that’s when the water is frightfully low for haul out.”
Gibb says he isn’t aware of any boats that were stuck on the lake after Oct. 10.
During last year’s council meeting, Gibb pointed out how he represented some 250 properties and 450 voters, with combined real estate holdings of $87 million, and that they pay about $625,000 in annual taxes. He said 50 per cent of them are dependent on the launch.
He reiterated how the boat launch had been advertised as a public access ramp for decades, and was even listed on the township’s website.
The ramp is no longer advertised on the website’s boat launch page.
“But based on that belief … we have increased our investment in our property by virtue of docks and boats, which we would never had done had there never been public access,” Gibb said. “There is a high level of frustration from residents.”
ALEX COOP is a reporter for The Highlander.