Part of Bluewater Beach Now Public
By Ian Ferguson
For years the owners of cottages on Plan 813 at Bluewater Beach had not known who owned the beach directly in front of their cottages. However this was not an issue as the beach was used only by the immediate property owners (front and back lot). There is little access to that stretch of beach since the abutting concession end Concession Road 5 is unopened. But this state of affairs appears likely to change. The Parking Advisory Committee has recommended that this concession end be surveyed, in order to open it.
The beach at Plan 813 had essentially been in limbo since 1937 when Wilbert John Trew, developer of the Plan, dedicated to the Township a footpath and two strips of land namely the road now known as Tiny Beaches Road South and a strip of beach approximately 20' wide running north from the unopened end of Concession 5 directly in front of the cottages on lots 1-33. The Council of the day neither accepted nor registered the dedications. The current Council belatedly accepted Trew's dedications by passing by-law 01-085 on a vote of 4-0 on June 25, 2001 a bylaw which was not on the agenda and which had had no public discussion and about which no notice had been given to the affected cottagers prior to the event.
In the discussion of the matter on June 25, Deputy Mayor Gordon Salisbury stated that the assumption of the strip of land in front of the cottages would allow Council also to assume ownership over the beach between the strip and the water's edge. Council was asked whether shoreline owners who do not own to the water's edge could now extend their lot lines forward following the precedent set by the municipality. Salisbury replied that this would depend as the situation is different from case to case.
Tiny Council stated that the legal opinion and David Lambden's report which are the basis for the move at Bluewater are confidential and may not be consulted by the public.
The Council has given the owners abutting the Public Highway strip on Plan 813 the following reassurances
a) Council sees these properties as traditionally-used beaches for the primary use of the residents and of the Township
b) There are no plans to create a major park area
c) The Parking Advisory Committee will discuss all parking revisions requested by any party. Council has no significant plans to revise parking
d) After surveys have been completed, any encroachments on the 20' (public highway) strip will be resolved in a cooperative manner. As a result, many property owners will be able, for the first time, to acquire formal legal title to these encroachments.
A number of the property owners on Plan 813 have begun a lawsuit against the municipality in an attempt to overturn the part of the bylaw concerning the 20 strip.