Minden Hills has ‘abandoned’ Bob Lake cottagers
|By Lisa Gervais - Editor | June 1, 2017|
A Bob Lake cottager accused Minden Hills council of abandoning him and his neighbours during a delegation to Thursday’s (May 25) regular council meeting.
Gerry Meade came to council as a private individual but noted the presence of members of different road associations in the public gallery.
A property owner since 1989, Meade said he bought on Bob Lake because it is a large waterway capable of accommodating bigger boats and it had a public boat launch.
That boat launch, on private property, has been blocked to the public by the landowner for about a year now. And, despite attempts by the township to find a way for boats to get on and off of the lake, remains closed as cottagers return this spring.
Meade said he wouldn’t have bought knowing there would be no public boat ramp in the future, or would have looked for a property with a private launch.
A former Newfoundlander, he said boating is a big part of why he cottages in Minden Hills and not having access to the boat launch has impacted his quality of life.
He said he took his boat out last year but it was not an experience he would repeat and “decided not to even endeavor to put it in this year.”
He said many of the private properties are not conducive to private ramps and it’s created somewhat of a have and have not situation between those who have them and those who don’t. He added the private landowners are worried about the legalities of letting someone else use their ramps.
He fears a loss of property value and claims cottagers who do short-term rentals are losing business.
Meade said that in his opinion, “The town has a moral and Iegal obligation to the property owners on Bob Lake to correct this situation,” suggesting a prescriptive easement as one solution.
“The town needs to provide the property owners with a clear response on the actions it will take and when it will do so.”
Reeve Brent Devolin did just that, telling Meade the township had spent a year and considerable money on the file. This has included looking at whether a severance was possible; finding an alternate site for a public boat launch on the lake, having road associations enter into partnerships and a prescriptive easement, which the township’s lawyer has advised against.
“We have played our hand out,” Devolin said. “We have exhausted every avenue that we could. I’m not happy about the state of affairs, but with the legal advice we’ve been given, it’s where we’re at, unfortunately.”
Council passed a motion saying it has now become a private matter and the municipality’s involvement has come to an end.
“It sounds like you’ve abandoned us,” Meade said at the end of the discussion.
“We think we’ve exhausted our opportunities to do what we can,” Devolin responded.
LISA GERVAIS is the editor for The Highlander.