A group of Erie Shore Drive property owners have initiated legal action against the Municipality of Chatham-Kent over shoreline costs.
The Erie Shore Drive Property Owners Association (ESDPOA) issued a media release announcing an application was brought forward under Section 79 of the Drainage Act. According to the release, more than 80 members of the Erie Shore Drive Property Owners Association are seeking damages from the municipality.
The group said they have paid for shoreline costs for decades, which they believe should be the municipality’s responsibility.
Under section 79, the members are also requesting that the shoreline protection be repaired.
“The dyke beneath Erie Shore Drive and the shoreline protection were built under the Drainage Act, placing an obligation on the municipality to maintain both. Unfortunately, that maintenance has not been completed by the municipality resulting in significant risks of flooding and destruction to the properties along the shoreline,” said Terra Cadeau, president of the ESDPOA.
Cadeau added residents like herself had been forced to spend large sums of money to pay the astronomical costs of protecting the shoreline.
“Bringing this application is our last option, but we have no alternative,” said Cadeau. “We cannot – and should not – be forced to continue to pay for what Chatham-Kent and all those who benefit from the drainage works are legally required to pay for.”
Back in March of 2020, residents of Erie Shore Drive were told to leave their homes from March to April due to concerns the dike could fail. This was following an engineer’s report that found there was a 5 to 40 percent chance that the dike would breach. A state of emergency was also declared for the road and the land protected by the dike.
According to a report published that spring, the Chatham-Kent Lake Erie Shoreline Study, the cost of tackling shoreline erosion and flooding within a 120-kilometre long stretch that includes Erie Shore Drive would range from $132 million to $217 million.
The property owners along Erie Shore Drive said they understand and fully accept owning waterfront property comes with a cost, but they claim this is not a typical shoreline issue.
The municipality has since confirmed it has been served with legal action by the Erie Shore Drive Property Owners Association.
“As this is an active legal matter, the Municipality will not be providing any further comment at this time,” said a statement from the municipality.
Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News