SEGUIN TWP. – Seguin council is moving ahead with the sale of land the public could use to access a lake, months after it denied a similar application and cited a township policy to keep water access points public.
The township’s policy states it won’t sell concession road allowances that lead to water, unless the lake or river has other access points, the land isn’t needed for a future road, the entire 20-metre (66-feet) width is being purchased and the buyer owns the abutting land.
In January, a farmland owner in Ward 3 wanted to purchase half the concession road allowance to the Shadow River off Cemetery Road to accommodate plans to build a new home.
Council flatly denied the application, but brainstormed for alternative options for the property owner to get the land needed to buy the home or build within the existing property boundaries.
One neighbour supported the sale of the concession road allowance’s length to where it ends at a small waterfall on Shadow River, while a second had originally opposed selling the full 20 metres, council was told.
Access the river
The public can also access the river where it dumps into Lake Rosseau.
Coun. Doug Sainsbury said the sale of half the concession road allowance would be precedent-setting, highlighting that the township would then have to sell the second half to the abutting landowner if asked. That would block the public’s access to the water.
“We would have to say ‘no’ to him, but we just said ‘yes’ to you,” he said. “ Do we have two classes of people in this township?”
Coun. Jack Hepworth pointed out that there are other options to facilitate the building and said he couldn’t support the sale.
“To be consistent, I don’t’ think we can sell a CRA that leads to water,” he said.
At the August 27 meeting, council agreed to sell the entire width of a portion of a concession road allowance behind three properties leading to the north end of Lake Joseph to the three waterfront owners whose land it runs behind, with the possibility the inland property owners could purchase the half abutting their land by the end of September.
The matter dated back to 2005 when council first approved its sale.
The road allowance runs close to a garage on one of the waterfront properties and cuts across all three cottages’ existing driveways. The road allowance can also be accessed at another point before it ends at the water.
The sale never closed in 2005, with one waterfront neighbour concerned he’d lose access to his property. That objection was later removed.
The inland property owner, who at times over the years has had no opposition to the sale and expressed interest in buying half the allowance, spoke against the need for the sale at council’s August 1 meeting, in part with concern about access over the land for waterlines for other back lots off Steeles Road.
Members of council visited the land after the council meeting.
Sainsbury, whose ward the property is in, said that each concession road allowance application is considered upon its own merit.
“I have learned that every sale application has to be looked at in light of its own particular set of circumstances and no two applications are the same,” he said before the Monday council meeting. “If you were to go to this property, you would see that part of it is paved, it’s part of someone’s driveway, etcetera, etcetera; we have usage for an extended period of time and all of those things weigh in the decision of whether or not this application has merit. Now, opposed to someone who says ‘hey, I want to buy the end of a road’, it’s a particular circumstance.”
Sainsbury defended the January decision on the application to purchase public land off Cemetery Road, which he said had nothing to do with the fact it’s not in his ward.
“There’s been no usage, part of it is not a paved driveway to somebody’s house,” he said.
Council directed staff to start the sale process of the land abutting Lake Joseph.