June 1, 2007

If the Town of Fort Erie’s proposed encroachment policy is passed the public will have lost significant areas of their waterfront lands to private lakefront property owners. The Town proposes to offer “encroachment agreements” to allow illegal fences which have been built by neighbouring property owners into public land to remain. These agreements would then be registered on the offending property owner’s titles and the encroached lands would become theirs to use. The Town’s reassurance that these waterfront road allowances are protected against adverse possession (squatter’s rights) rings hollow in the face of this proposal.

Shorewalk’s position is that all fences and other movable encroachments which extend neighbouring private property into the public’s waterfront road allowances should be removed. This would simply comply with the Town’s own existing fence encroachment practice where no such agreements have ever been offered. It’s difficult to comprehend how the Town can ignore decades of past practice and allow this valuable and scarce public waterfront to, in essence, be turned over to private lakefront property owners.

Seemingly the only rationale offered up for this outrageous takeover of public land is that Town staff do not want to upset these squatters (illegal encroachers) by asking them to move their fences back onto their own property.

Provincial policy on these waterfront road allowances states that there should be a clear line of demarcation between public and private waterfront lands. The Town chooses to look the other way in the face of this policy and instead ignore the public good in favour of private property interests. It really is difficult to comprehend.

On the other hand our elected council has clearly and consistently been opposed to this staff proposition to allow fences to remain on public waterfront land. How, you may ask, can the staff proposal been so far removed from the public and council desire to protect our public waterfront? Only they can answer that but it may, in part, be a result of long standing staff suggestions to these fence encroachers that a by-law with “keep your fence” agreements was in the works. It’s now time to set the record straight. There will be no by-law that allows waterfront encroached fences to remain under registered title agreements.


1. Attend for the Council’s vote on Mon. June 18, 6:00 p.m.

2. Join Shorewalk here

3. Download and copy our “No fence encroachments” form and return it to:

Pastries Rene, Garrison Rd. and Thompson,
across from Walmart. Fort Erie

Cover to Cover Bookstore, Ridge Rd., Ridgeway

True Value Hardware, Gorham Rd., Ridgeway.


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