Residents don't want road allowance sold

welland tribune

By Allan Benner, July 13, 2012

WAINFLEET - There’s a large sand berm that divides the Carolinian trees from the sandy beach and lakeshore to the south. It’s a pristine park-like setting that holds a great deal of potential.

Phil Bearss and Laurie Dayboll are fighting to keep a public beach, across from their Lakeshore Rd. home, open.

The beach itself provides a public area where neighbouring residents who don’t own a portion of the sand themselves can relax, and the wooded area holds a great deal of potential, said neighbouring residents like Laurie Dayboll and Phil Bearss.

“It’s a nice shaded spot to stop along the way,” she said.

“It’s valuable and precious to me,” Bearss added.

Dayboll and Bearss own 21-acres on Lakeshore Rd. across from the 20-metre wide road allowance stub at the end of Augustine Reeb Rd., and they don’t want to see it sold off as private property.

To the north, the mud road that ends with the road allowance stub that passes through Wainfleet’s conservation areas “and then directly to the Gord Harry Trail,” Dayboll said.

“There aren’t any other road allowances that have that recreational access to all those different environmental features,” she added.

She’s urging Wainfleet residents who want to see the property retained to attend a public meeting, Tuesday at 7 p.m. in council chambers.

Wainfleet Mayor April Jeffs said the council has been considering selling the property to abutting property owners, since they were contacted by people interested in buying it. Funds from the sale of the property could then be used to enhance other areas along the lakeshore.

But “nothing’s written in stone,” she said, adding she’s eager to hear from people about what they’d like to see done with the property.

The property is one of 16 road allowance stubs that lead to Lake Erie’s shoreline, said Dayboll.

“About every half mile, there’s a road allowance that goes to the lake. Some of them are great, some of them are stoney, some of them have a great beach, some of them have great access and some of them don’t,” Dayboll said.

But the uniqueness of each of those areas is part of their charm, Bearss added.

If the township does amends its official plan to sell some waterfront property, Dayboll and Bearss are concerned other public areas could be sold too.

“If it can happen to this one, it can happen to the others,” she warned.

Wainfleet planner Grant Munday said the town’s planning department recommended against selling the property.

“We were quoting policies that we currently have in place that say don’t sell this land, but council still went ahead and chose to sell it,” he said.

The township now needs to amend its official plan to sell the land.

“It’s up to council. If they want to change (the official plan), they certainly have the right.”

allan.benner@sunmedia.ca

Notes:

Wainfleet’s official plan states: The township’s official plan states: “To ensure adequate public access to Lake Erie, no further road closings will be permitted on road allowances leading to the water.”

That information was added in the late 1970s as a result of based on public consultation.

The township’s parks and recreation master plan enhancing beach access points in different ways.