Water access request may lead to future conflict

·2 min read

An owner of a St. Nora’s Lake cottage are lobbying council for help in getting recreational water access.

The owner, identified in council agenda materials only as Anne, said she and her family have been on the lake for 75 years. Now, she wrote in an August email to the mayor, they are desperate to secure a new access point to the lake.

“We have a water access cottage on St. Nora’s Lake and have also recently lost our access,” she wrote. The initial access and launch point was located on private land.

She’s hoping the township will grant access at the Lesley Frost Centre, given that she said the municipality owns part of it.

“We do not need parking, nor a ramp, and we have a small dock,” she wrote. “We would like to put a small dock at the Frost access point.”

The owner suggested another option: Town council allow her to moor a single boat to the public dock.

“There is ample room for an additional small dock that would not interfere with the lake access for others or hinder the canoe rental operation,” she wrote. “There would be no costs incurred by the township.”

Recreation, Tourism, and Trails Manager Chris Card offered council some points of consideration in dealing with the request.

In a report to council, Card said the St. Nora Lake boat launch and adjacent shoreline is within the limits of the easement associated with the Frost Centre and subject to provisions of such.

Bylaw 2012-38 regulates docking and mooring at public docks within the township and it prohibits docking or mooring longer than 12 hours.

He said if council would like to consider granting the request to place a dock, a review of the assumption of liability is recommended as it is anticipated that a certain level of liability would arise.

“The needs for residents and property owners to secure docking and boat storage is not unique to this lake,” he said. “The St. Nora Lake boat launch is a main access point for the Haliburton Highlands Water Trails Program and is high use. Boats moored for long periods would affect access.

Card said council could either deny the request base on the information he outlined or opt to pursue further research on permitted land use within the easement and liability considerations.

Ultimately, council decided to reject the Nora’s Lake cottage owner.

“It was important that this come forward because of the increasing challenges we are having with access,” said Moffatt.

Deputy Mayor Liz Danielsen said she can empathize with Anne.

“However, by allowing her to do this, we are opening the door to all kinds of conflicts and further similar requests,” said Danielsen. “Unfortunately, I think it’s a case where she’s going to have to try to seek alternate options.”

James Matthews, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Haliburton County Echo