| Oct 02, 2008

Oct 2/08 - One more hurdle for Garrison Shores

Back toHome

Feature Article - October 2, 2008 One more hurdle for Garrison ShoresBy Jeff Green

The Garrison Shores waterfront development was put together 20 years ago, and trying to bring it into compliance with current municipal regulations has proven to be a difficult task for Central Frontenac Council.

In fact it has been on Council’s to-do list since the township was formed in 1998, but it took until earlier this year for the township to find a solution, which involved a zoning bylaw amendment and an amendment to the township’s official plan.

Garrison Lake is a small lake, located west of Arden, in the former township of Kennebec. At one time the Garrison Shores development was salted to include 96 small lots, but now includes 35 occupied properties and a few vacant lots. These lots have been in a legal limbo until a solution was reached this past Spring.

The solution did not satisfy at least one landholder that is part of the ill-fated development. Jeff Dubois appealed council’s amendments to the Ontario Municipal Board.

On the eve of the date for a full-blown hearing, however, Dubois reached agreements with both the township and the Garrison Shores Property Owners Association, and withdrew his appeals.

One of Dubois’ major concerns has been the fact that the shoreline of the lake, which was originally to be common lands jointly held by all the landowners, is to be conveyed to the 17 properties in the development that are closest to the lake.

Dubois said that, during 11th hour negotiations before the hearing, “Garrison Shores (through their solicitor Geoffrey Cantello)agreed to register a restrictive covenant on title which would serve to prevent any sort of shoreline development on those units (lots) whose boundaries now extend to the lake.”

The restrictive covenant will enshrine an 8 metre vegetative buffer around the lake.

“Although I still believe that shoreline preservation is best ensured by not conveying private ownership of the shoreline,” Dubois told the News, “the restrictive covenant represents a compromise that stipulates the types of activities which are not permitted.”

A second change was made, this time by the township, which will now prohibit swimming pools in the development.

The two changes have cleared the way for Dubois to withdraw his objections, but they do not represent the end of the line for him.

Property owners at Garrison Shores have never had deeds to their properties, which have been in legal limbo for over 20 years. They will now wait until a plan of condominium is submitted for approval to the County of Frontenac.

Susan Beckel, Deputy Clerk of Frontenac County, said that once an application is received it will be sent to various agencies and bodies for comment, and referred to the county’s own planning consultant. A public meeting will be held as well, likely in Central Frontenac.

Jeff Dubois said that he would not be giving up his contention that the waterfront should not be conveyed to individual landowners, and he will raise that at the public meeting.

“While it might appear to some observers that the interests of the environment have been championedthrough this settlement,” he said, “the bitter reality is that the settlement may provide for more in the form of redress than in the form of prevention when it comes to preserving the shoreline.

“I've always looked at the shoreline like playing hockey.... it's better to protect the shoreline from the onset than figure out ways of repairing it later. Likewise it's always better to strap on your helmet before you lace up the skates than take six stitches in the head. A patched up shoreline is what you get when you play without a helmet.”

The plan of condominium, once approved, will also be subject to a possible appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board.

Support local
independant journalism by becoming a patron of the Frontenac News.