| Mar 13, 2008

Feature Article - March 13, 2008

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Feature Article - March 13, 2008 Landowner Cross Over Road.By Jeff Green

It may be a tiny, rough road, but a piece of what Brian Shier describes as a “private drive” that runs through his property between the Perry and Oliver Roads near Hwy. 41 at Kaladar has pitted neighbour against neighbour since last summer.

Brian Shier has remained silent until now in the matter; his one scheduled appearance before Addington Highlands Council never happened, because, he says, the date of the meeting was changed and he was never informed of the change.

As he tells it, the road in question is basically a wide path that was built by his family decades ago. It has been used “on and off” over the decades for people to access Crown land and hunt camps on the Cross Road to the east of Oliver Road.

According to Shier, the two families that built on the Cross Road and the owners of a hunt camp on the road were all informed when they began using the road that it was only a temporary way in.

“I told them that this was a private piece of road, the original road into their property was the old Addington Road, and the road through my property would be closed one day” he said when he contacted the News earlier this week after he submitted a letter to the editor. (see Property Owner Responds)

Dale Ritchie, who has been using the road since he purchased his property further down the Cross Road six years ago, and did the maintenance and winter snow removal on the road for five winters, said that Shier “said that it was his road but told me not to worry about it. I didn’t argue with him, but I knew it was a public road all along.”

Nothing happened until early last summer, when a neighbour complained about Brian Shier’s son four wheeling on the property.

“I contacted the township, and they said I should close off access for liability reasons. My own lawyer then advised me I should close off all access through my property for liability reasons, so I did.”

Council has been approached on several occasions since then by Norene Traynor and others who had been using the road, and asked to arbitrate what has become a dispute over the status of the road. They contend it is a public right way, and last week they produced a document from the registry office in Napanee which says “public authority having jurisdiction” in reference to the ownership of the piece of road in question.

The township is studying the document, and is consulting a surveyor to determine its accuracy and implications.

According to Brian Shier, there is nothing in the original deed or in the collected memory of his family going back the 60 years they have lived on the property that says that road is public property or public access.

Both sides in the dispute say they are considering legal action.

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