Unless the Ministry of Natural Resources has some potential solution, residents on Shabomeka Lake that have been using the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority dam to access their properties will have to find alternate access, North Frontenac Council heard at its regular meeting last week in Harlowe.
Lake resident Brad Pound appeared at Council representing 48 cottagers.
“As cottagers who purchased properties on the west side of the lake, we have historically been able to access our properties via the water or by crossing the control dam on foot, snowmobile or ATV,” Pound said. “A few years ago, MVCA put bollards in place restricting ATV and snowmobile access.
“This has forced cottagers and service providers such as Hydro One to cross through the stream below the dam or risk thin ice to access our cottages.”
Pound said they would like MVCA to “incorporate a crossing into their plans that would allow us to safely access our properties as we have in the past.”
He said they have made several requests to MVCA but been denied access across the dam. He said they were at Council requesting North Frontenac to provide some access in conjunction with the dam reconstruction/rehabilitation.
Coun. Gerry Martin, North Frontenac’s representative at MVCA said the Township has made requests about this in the past.
“They said it was a question of liability and there’s nothing we can do,” Martin said. “They also said there was some damage from snowmobiles and nobody is ‘allowed to cross.’
“It’s MNR property so I don’t know what else we can do.”
“MVCA has control over the dam so we have to look at alternatives,” said Mayor Ron Higgins.
“Perhaps MNR might be a resource,” said Deputy Mayor Fred Perry.
Higgins said he’d write a letter to the MNR “to see what can be done.”
North Frontenac Council decided to remove a clause in its Official Plan (which goes to the County Community Planning Advisory Council Sept. 12) relating to commercial logging around water bodies.
Concerns from area loggers were that a 150-metre zone prohibiting logging was neither practical nor warranted and that the restrictions loggers are already subject to through provincial regulations are more than enough to protect forests.
“We’re already following MNR regulations which are 15 metres,” said logger Phillip Schonauer. “Unless there’s a crane’s nest in there and then it’s different.
“I’d like to see the MNR rules used because that’s what we’re already following.”
Council agreed that they didn’t need more logging regulations in the Official Plan.
Council also agreed to have a look at rezoning some areas when it comes time to look at the Zoning Bylaw again.
The offer of a donation of a telescope for the Dark Skies observation site on Road 506 are likely to be a ‘thanks-but-no-thanks’ as a suitable building to house it in would likely cost in the $20,000-$30,000 range and there’s no guarantee that Transport Canada would OK it around the helipad even if they did come up with the money (Mayor Ron Higgins floated the idea of crowd funding).
“We turned down 10 acres and a log cabin for similar reasons,” said Coun. John Inglis.
“I hate to say it but needs and wants are two different things,” said Coun. Wayne Good. “We’d also have to maintain it.”
“We’ll have a look at budget time to see if it’s feasible,” said Higgins.