At the Limerick Township planning committee meeting on March 9, there was an update on the St. Ola boathouse registrations. Letters had been sent out in December to get residents to register to have a licence to occupy the boathouses for the next 25 years at a cost of $2,500. By the planning meeting on March 9, there had been 10 replies to these letters and the township was still waiting to hear back from five residents. These residents have until April 2 to complete their boathouse registrations, or their boathouses will be assigned to someone else or torn down at their expense.
Victoria Tisdale, the clerk and treasurer, confirmed that 10 of the 15 residents had registered their boathouses and paid their fees and insurance. She was still waiting to hear back from five residents. From her perspective, there were no issues that would indicate that they wouldn’t pay, they are just waiting on the payments and the insurance coming through. Councillor Jan MacKillican suggested sending out a reminder letter to the five outstanding residents, which Tisdale said she would do.
At their planning committee meeting on Dec. 21, letters were sent out to residents occupying boathouses on public lands at the St. Ola boat launch. These letters contained the new licence to occupy bylaw, a current map of the area showing the location of the boathouses and informing the residents that the application cost is $2,500 over 25 years.
The process with the boathouses on the public lands at the St. Ola boat launch began when the township had wanted, under the authority of the Municipal Act 2001 S.O. Ministry of Natural Resources Policy Number PL 4.11.07, to implement a licencing structure for the boathouses in question.
In April 2020, the council sent out a public notice to identify the occupants of these boathouses to register with the municipality to make sure they were represented in the licencing process. The cost to licence these boathouses is $2,500 for 25 years, except for boathouse #3, as it is included within the owner’s roll number and taxes are paid on it.
In another facet to this story, the township has been getting inquiries from people wanting to rent the boathouses if any of them go into default and the current occupants don’t pay their registration fees.
Tisdale said she’d gotten a rental inquiry that morning, and MacKillican said that there already three people on the waiting list.
Mayor Carl Stefanski said that it was quite an economic advantage to the people on the waiting list if they ended up renting the boathouses and paying the fees, versus having to pay mooring fees. Not only would it be a financial gain, but it would negate them having to launch and take their boats out of the water every time they came to the lake. They could just leave their boats in the boathouse all season.
MacKillican also suggested getting the boathouses up to standard in the spring if everyone pays their registration fees. She said that Frank Mills, the township’s Chief Building Officer, could have a look at them when the lake thaws.
Stefanski agreed 100 per cent, and was pleased this was going ahead.
“There would be a lot of pushback if a catastrophic disaster struck and there was litigation. Then the ratepayers would have to pay for that. So hopefully, this will come to fruition,” he says.
As for the April 2 deadline, he asked MacKillican what was next and would they offer the outstanding residents another 30 days if they didn’t end up paying?
MacKillican replied that they’d send out the reminder, then call the residents two weeks before to gauge their intentions. If any of the five residents do not pay, MacKillican and Tisdale would come back to the planning committee for guidance, and they would either assign them to people on the wait list or tear them down.
Councillor Ingo Weise interjected, saying that he always thought that if any of the residents didn’t pay, the boathouses would be torn down and the land would revert to parkland. He expressed confusion as to why there was now talk of assigning them to people on a wait list. He pointed out that at $100 per year for 25 years, the township was not making any money.
MacKillican conceded that it was a good point, and that it should be discussed and decided at the April planning meeting if it comes to that.
“Okay, we’ll send the notice and see how it goes. I expect they’re all going to sign up. I haven’t had anybody tell me they’re not going to and I don’t think Victoria has either. Victoria and I can get together before the next planning meeting and get an update,” she says. “If there are not people signed up, we can talk to Kirsten [Musgrove, the township lawyer] and come back with a proposal for the committee to consider.”
Michael Riley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Bancroft Times