By Chad Ingram
April 27 2017
How Bob Lake residents get their boats inand out of the water body south of Minden this year will be up to them.
Last year the owner of the Bob Lake property that houses along-used boat launch barricaded the launch to the public.
For many years there was a misunderstanding including by MindenHills township that the launch was publicly owned.
However it is located on private property and citing litigiousconcerns the owner blocked off access to the site with a chain barrier andlater a line of flagstones. This was done after many boats had already beenput in the water for the season.
Residents came to council saying their boats were being heldhostage on Bob Lake. There is no public launch on the water body.
The township eventually came to an agreement with the property ownerand during a 11-day period near Thanksgiving residents were permitted to usethe launch to remove their vessels.
A staff report showed the cost for that process was approximately$9300.
The township paid $2500 to the landownerfor access to the launch during the 11-day period. It also paid nearly $3000to Greg Bishop Surveying nearly $1700 to Russell Christie LLP for legalfees and more than $2200 to Kawartha Security Guard Service for on-sitesecurity during the 11-day window.
The cost did not include the staff timethat was spent dealing with the issue. In the end only about 20 boats wereremoved during that period as part of the flagstone barrier had previouslybeen removed.
While the township has been working on along-term strategy during the winter Reeve Brent Devolin said during an April27 Minden Hills council meeting that finding a solution had so far beenunsuccessful.
“There has been no subsequent officialcommunication from Parks Canada in Minden Hills” Devolin said. “So . . .basically we're kind of in the same position that we were. Obviously lastyear we accommodated people getting off the lake which obviously the numberwas less than we ever anticipated. We've gone through the process of otheralternative sites and have exhausted that position.”
Devolin hinted that if infrastructuremoney become available from upper levels of government the township mightconsider buying the property which remains for sale.
“But at this time I don't see thatwe're in any different position than we were in in the fall” he said. “I wishit was a different outcome but that's where we are.”
Devolin said the township will not benegotiating an agreement with the owner for the use of the property this year.
“I say this with no gladness at all . . .the majority of the almost 600 lakes in Haliburton County don't have a publicaccess and they [Bob Lake residents] will need to do what a majority of otherpeople on lakes in Haliburton County do” he said.
The majority of property owners on thelake have indicated they are not willing to band together to collectively buythe property. There are some 250 properties on the lake.