Bob Lake residents on their own
By Chad Ingram
April 27, 2017
How Bob Lake residents get their boats in and 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 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, residents were permitted to use the launch to remove their vessels.
A staff report showed the cost for that process was approximately $9,300.
The township paid $2,500 to the landowner for access to the launch during the 11-day period. It also paid nearly $3,000 to Greg Bishop Surveying, nearly $1,700 to Russell, Christie, LLP for legal fees and more than $2,200 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 the winter, Reeve Brent Devolin said during an April 27 Minden Hills council meeting that finding a solution had so far been unsuccessful.
“There has been no subsequent, official communication from Parks Canada in Minden Hills,” Devolin said. “So . . . basically, we're kind of in the same position that we were. Obviously, last year, we accommodated people getting off the lake, which obviously the number was less than we ever anticipated. We've gone through the process of other alternative sites and have exhausted that position.”
Devolin hinted that, if infrastructure money become available from upper levels of government, the township might consider buying the property, which remains for sale.
“But, at this time, I don't see that we're in any different position than we were in in the fall,” he said. “I wish it was a different outcome but that's where we are.”
Devolin said the township will not be negotiating 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 public access and they [Bob Lake residents] will need to do what a majority of other people on lakes in Haliburton County do,” he said.
The majority of property owners on the lake have indicated they are not willing to band together to collectively buy the property. There are some 250 properties on the lake.