Jeff Green | Oct 21, 2015

Ashby Lake Road saga headed to Superior Court?

Shortly after the start of their regular meeting in Denbigh, Addington Highlands Council sent the audience out into a cool, windy night in order to consider legal advice about a matter that has been before them for the last three meetings, a disputed road/trail on the Mieske property near Ashby Lake that is now blocked by boulders at both ends.

The question before Council was whether the historic public access to Ashby Lake was indeed closed off in the 1970s and re-located as a public right of way in the blocked off location, which runs right through the Mieske property. A number of neighbouing property owners have used the rough road to access hunting and fishing opportunities in the past. Although there is an alternative way into those properties from another direction, it is a longer way around for many.

When they came out from the in camera session, Reeve Hogg said that the township lawyer has looked at the documentations from the 1970s and concluded that the arrangement to change the public access was “never enacted, so it is not township property.”

Darcy Alkerton, who addressed Council on behalf of the neighboring property owners, said, “My family has used it since 1957. I hate to take the township to court over this, but I think we are headed that way.

For his part, Mark Mieske, who was at the meeting but not scheduled to speak to Council, piped in nonetheless.

“I spent $10,000 on surveys when I bought my property in 2012, and they show that there is nothing on my deed about public access,” he said.

Mieske blocked off access early this summer, and the matter has been contested ever since.

“There is nothing for us to do about this,” said Councilor Bill Cox. “It is a civil matter.”

The matter seems to be headed to court, where a lawyer representing the neighbours will take it up. Mark Mieske will need to engage his own lawyer. The township lawyer will also be required, if only to clarify the township's position.

Cemeteries – Councilor Fritsch reported that volunteers have been repairing fences and other deficiencies at the Denbigh and Slate Falls cemeteries, saving a portion of the money set aside in the 2015 budget for the work.

Medical Center – Council passed a motion requesting that a fire inspection be done at the Northbrook Family Health Team building to identify deficiencies and ensure the building complies or is brought into compliance with the fire code.

New privy – Council has requested that the Public Works Department work with community volunteers to ensure a new privy is installed at the Denbigh park in time for the winter ice skating season.

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