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Feature Article - November 17, 2005

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Feature Article

November 17, 2005

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Garrison Shores: a problem that just won't go away

by Jeff Green

Paul Chaves from the Garrison Shores Property Owners’ Association appeared before Central Frontenac Council this week in search of something most other waterfront property owners take for granted: deeds to their own properties.


Garrison Shores was a development that came into being in the early 1980’s. It originally included 108 lots, some of which were never built on. Originally the people who bought into the project built homes on leased land, but the project went sour at some point and legal title has never been established. Trying to make the existing dwellings at the Garrison Shores Development into legal properties perplexed Kennebec for many years, and has been an ongoing problem for Central Frontenac Council. At one point, three years ago, a zoning proposal was forwarded to Frontenac County Council for approval, but it was never approved.

Frustrated Garrison Shore property owners have again approached Council, but nothing has come forward so far. Paul Chaves and members of the Association Executive met recently with Councillors Jack Nicolson and Logan Murray. Nicolson and Murray agreed to bring a proposal to Council that a steering committee be formed to try and work through the necessary issues to make the Garrison Shores development legal and give the property owners deeds.

But Logan Murray’s proposal, which was submitted in the form of motion, was not brought before Council. Clerk Administrator Heather Fox said it contradicted a motion that had previously been passed at an in camera council meeting. This invoked the ire of both Logan Murray and Jack Nicolson, who questioned the validity of refusing to bring the motion forward.

Meanwhile Glen Tunnock, the township’s planning consultant, was also in attendance at the council meeting. He said he will have a tentative plan prepared in the next month or so that will include an amendment to the township’s official plan, and will create special zoning for Garrison Shores. When pressed, Tunnock said he could have this document prepared by mid December.

Paul Chaves said “We have been waiting for over 20 years, so I guess we can wait until mid-December.”

It’s too early to say, however, when this issue will finally be resolved.

Train Museum Committee Chair blows his stack

Norm Landry, the chair of the Central Frontenac Train Museum Committee made his second appearance before council in the last month.

The first thing Landry was looking for from council was confirmation of a building site for the museum/library that is envisioned. The ideal plan calls for building the museum, an exact replica of the original rain station, on the site of the original station. The problem is that some of the land the station stood on is still owned by Marathon Realty, the real estate arm of the “Canadian Pacific Railway, and some of the land is owned by the township. Even as of the most recent council meeting, the exact dimensions of the township-owned property are still not known.

Councillor Frances Smith said she might be seeing an official from Marathon this week who could tell her if the CPR land can be sold to the township.

“I wouldn’t get my hopes up, though, I first talked to this man over 20 years ago about buying this land. I can’t believe he’s still working there,” Smith said.

Discussion ensued about whether a suitable alternate site could be configured using township land.

“This is silly,” said Norm Landry, “how can you wait for 20 years for 3,000 square feet of land. Never mind that, for now. What I want to know is, is council prepared to provide us a site we can use? Not in Arden, not in Tichborne, but near, or preferably on, the site where the train station originally stood.”

Landry then turned his attention to a complex resolution that was being considered by council concerning building costs, upkeep costs, and other matters. He was unsure how much could be determined before a site is finalised, and was particularly unhappy with a request that a feasibility study be carried out.

“We don’t need another feasibility study; we’ve been doing that for years now,” he said.

He then read a prepared statement, (see letters page) concerning comments made at the previous Council meeting by Councillor Bob Harvey about the Smiths Falls Railway museum being an unattractive building.

“I’m taking a break from this for about a month and a half,” Landry concluded. “I can’t stand any more of this.”

Councillor Smith, and township staff, will be trying to straighten out the building site situation in the near future. The resolution concerning further details of the project was tabled.

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