Marinas tell Lake of Bays to create Bigwin park, despite Mayor Bob Young’s comments
LAKE OF BAYS – Residents in Lake of Bays who would like to see a parcel of land on Bigwin Island designated as a public park have received support for the idea from area marinas.
In a letter to council, several marinas - Baysville Marina, Haystack Bay Marine, Old mill Marina, Port Cunnington Marina, Pride of Lake of Bays Marine and South Portage Marina - wrote that there are very few public spaces on Lake of Bays and that customers often ask where they can stop and enjoy a picnic or go for a swim on the lake.
“The addition of a public space on Bigwin Island would be an ideal asset to promote Lake of Bays,” reads the letter. “A public space, left in a natural state, gives everyone an opportunity to experience the island as many have in years gone by.”
During the council meeting on Sept. 11, residents Carol Campbell and Sue Smith made a delegation to council requesting the 1.9-acre parcel of land listed as surplus be retained for a public park.
“We believe that Bigwin Island is not only central to Lake of Bays geographically, but it’s a big part of what you think about when you talk about Lake of Bays,” said Campbell. “Because we have the opportunity, we must take advantage to keep this historically, socially and economically important piece of island property for the public. The public should not be excluded from Bigwin Island.”
The two women proposed the name for the public park be Chief Bigwin Heritage Park and said their vision was to leave the area’s natural fauna in tact with just a couple of picnic tables on the property.
Council did not debate the merits of retaining the property for a public park, as it was not listed as an agenda item.
In an earlier interview about the property, Mayor Bob Young said the land was prime real estate.
“I would not think a park would be good use,” he said. “Most importantly how would we maintain it, how would we control if people lit fires there, because we don’t have a boat big enough to take people over to do maintenance. I just think it would be impractical.”
The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) estimates the property’s value at just over $600,000. Township staff is collecting data on the property, which is zoned waterfront residential, for a report to council.