At least one Bracebridge councillor is lamenting the loss of public access to the Muskoka River following a decision to sell waterfront land to Santa’s Village.
During Tuesday’s general committee meeting councillors voted to close and sell a section of the original shore road allowance at 1624 Golden Beach Road for $148,147, plus HST.
Councillors heard that a new plan, in conjunction, with the District of Muskoka and Santa’s Village is eventually expected to lead to the creation of new greenspace and potentially a new public access site to the Muskoka River.
Coun. Rick Maloney said preliminary discussions have included talk of new seating, improved vistas of the river and potentially a cycling repair station.
Coun. said Mark Quemby said the amendments were a “consolation prize,” compared to the loss of a traditional public water access area where people have launched canoes and kayaks for many years.
“This recommendation flies in the face of our existing policy,” said Quemby. “We do it for a lake in the middle of the bush…then why wouldn’t we do it for an actively used body of water near the middle of town.”
Geoff Carleton, the Town’s director of Public Works, said staff look at the “bigger picture” of all public water access as well as the risks, when making decisions to stop up shore road allowances.
Carleton said there are some six km of shore road allowance still located along the river and there are other water access facilities within driving distance.
There are currently 30 operational waterfront properties located within the Town boundary.
These existing water access locations and facilities include boat launches, docks, wharfs, beaches, parks and other shoreline areas accessed from Town-owned lands.
Don’t miss out on Doppler!
Sign up here to receive our email digest with links to our most recent stories.
Local news in your inbox three times per week!