By Chad Ingram
Published Sept. 7 2017
A group of Bob Lake residents intend to construct a boat launch on a property along the narrows opening into the lake south of Minden.
A public meeting regarding the proposal was held in Minden Hills council chambers on Aug. 31.
The two-hectare property is currently zoned shoreline residential and will need to be rezoned as site-specific open space exception 10.
The launch is to be used by 15 families but one lake resident told councillors she had concerns it could end being many more than that if the property owners decided to operate the facility commercially.
“We are concerned the site may become a commercial enterprise” she said. She also pointed to safety concerns around boat traffic and swimmers since the launch would be located in the narrows.
She also said the area was spawning ground for fish but did add many of her concerns had been alleviated after talking to residents involved in the launch project.
“We feel a whole lot better about it now” she told council.
The launch is to be gated and used only by the 15 landowners involved as well as a small group of renters to be limited to four per year.
It is not zoned for and will not be used for commercial purposes the involved landowners have said.
“We were asked to solve our own problem” one lake resident told council. She added there are some but not many properties for sale on the lake and that 15 families using one boat launch seemed more desirable for the environment than 15 new boat launches on the lake.
Last year the owner of the Bob Lake property that houses a long-used boat launch barricaded the launch to the public.
For many years there was a misunderstanding including by Minden Hills township that the launch was publicly owned.
However it is located on private property and citing litigious concerns the owner blocked off access to the site with a chain barrier and later a line of flagstones. This was done after many boats had already been put in the water for the season.
Residents came to council saying their boats were being held hostage on Bob Lake. There is no public launch on the water body.
The township eventually came to an agreement with the property owner and during a 11-day period near Thanksgiving of last year residents were permitted to use the launch to remove their vessels.
A staff report showed the cost for that process was approximately $9300.
The township paid $2500 to the landowner for access to the launch during the 11-day period. It also paid nearly $3000 to Greg Bishop Surveying nearly $1700 to Russell Christie LLP for legal fees and more than $2200 to Kawartha Security Guard Service for on-site security during the 11-day window.
The cost did not include the staff time that was spent dealing with the issue. In the end only about 20 boats were removed during that period as part of the flagstone barrier had previously been removed.
While the township has been working on a long-term strategy during last winter it was unable to achieve one leaving residents to their own devices.
Councillors will make a decision on the boat launch proposal at a Sept. 28 meeting.