Controversy continues over fence
April 28, 2014
By Chad Ingram
The issue of constructing a fence near the the Irondale Community Centre is heading back to the centre’s advisory committee.
For months, Minden Hills council has been discussing putting up a fence near the property line of a neighbouring property to deal with an apparent dispute with the property owner.
That dispute is over where cars can be parked during a baseball tournament that takes place once a year.
While council had previously recommended installing posts along the line that could be used to run line to create temporary fencing during the weekend of the ball tournament, the advisory committee would like to see the installation of a permanent fence.
“Every year we have to put up a fence and every year there’s controversy,” said Ward 3 Councillor Jean Neville at an April 24 council meeting.
The abutting property belongs to the father of Jeff Hancock, a man who successfully sued the township for defamation after he and his wife, former members of the advisory committee, were accused of stealing from the centre.
Neville said she would like to see the Line Fences Act used, however, chief administrative officer Nancy Wright-Laking said this was not necessary, as there was no dispute over the location of the proposed fence, or who was paying for it.
It would go on a township road allowance, one foot from the Hancock property.
“I do not believe there’s any dispute,” Wright-Laking said. “The municipality’s paying for the fence.”
“We can put up a fence on our property,” said Reeve Barb Reid.
The cost of the fence would come from the reserves for the centre, which sit at $24,000.
Much of that money comes from fundraising done by volunteers. The centre, like the ones in Gelert and Lochlin, is maintained and paid for largely by a volunteer committee.
Neville said that the volunteers didn’t think it was right that funds they raised be used to put up a municipal fence.
It is estimated a four-foot, chain-link fence would cost $6,500, plus HST.
Neville said she believed the money should come from general township coffers, which other members of council took issue with.
“I don’t think there’s anybody else in this community who feels there needs to be a fence there,” said Ward 2 Councillor Ken Redpath.
Property and environmental operations manager Ivan Ingram reiterated the request for the fence had come from the volunteers.
“This is a recommendation coming from the committee,” Ingram said. “That’s why the recommendation is in there.”
The report on the fence and its location will go to a May 8 committee meeting.
The Hancock family did not wish to speak to the issue at this time.