Leeds and the Thousand Islands is considering creating a waterfront allowance at the south end of Days Road, near Gananoque.
Rob Branscombe, on behalf of his family, presented a delegation and request to township council this week to create access for allowance to the waterfront at the south end of Days Road.
"The biggest impediment to this proposal is the existing boathouse," Rob Branscombe said to council.
"It's been there for many years. In October of 1988 an agreement was made with the township for the building of the boathouse or the extension of it, we're not sure, but in that agreement, it said if and when council decides removal is necessary … so council has the right to have this (boathouse) demolished."
Branscombe added that it appears the boathouse in question hasn't been used for many years, probably even decades.
"It's unsafe," Branscombe added. "A building inspector posted a sign in early April."
That sign, Branscombe added, stated that the boathouse was deemed an unsafe structure, that the property was private, and an investigation is underway regarding demolishing the boathouse.
Branscombe said he canvassed the entire neighbourhood and spoke to about 75 per cent of residents, giving a copy of his presentation to council.
He believes the time is now to transition the site to public use, allowing for the creation of access to the waterfront at the south end of Days Road.
"We're interested in having access to the water," said Branscombe.
He likened the site to Gray's Beach, with approximately 10 metres of sandy beach shoreline leading to a three-to-four-metre-high bluff. The upper unopened road allowance is approximately 30 to 40 metres long and is drivable to the top of the bluff. The road allowance is used to that point as primary access to several cottages on the west side and as a secondary access to the property on the east side.
Branscombe said the road allowance is functional and necessary for access to adjoining properties.
Should beach access be granted and the boathouse removed, Branscombe suggested that no parking be allowed on the road allowance, Days Road, or the nearby Island Lane or Dark Island Lane, as these lanes are privately owned and too narrow for parking.
Branscombe's request is that the township create access from the top of the bluff to the beach area below, remove the boathouse and remove the accumulated debris and underbrush.
Branscombe and his family believe this property is a small but rare gem for Leeds and Thousand Islands, and can be transformed at little cost from private use to community use.
Due to the township owning the boathouse, Coun. Terry Fodey said it's incumbent on the municipality to remove it.
"As opposed to having people downriver having to see pieces of it, over the next 10 years, go by their door and accumulate on their shorelines," Fodey added.
Looking towards the future, Fodey said the township's fire department may appreciate the water access.
"Given the density of a lot of buildings in that area, this might be critical should it ever be required," Fodey said.
(Keith Dempsey is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Brockville Recorder and Times. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.)
Keith Dempsey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brockville Recorder and Times