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Councillors approve boatshed application

The conditional approval would solve a property dispute where a structure was constructed partly on two properties

BARRHEAD- A Lightning Bay resident will have to amend his plans to build a new boathouse, after County of Barrhead councillors countered an applicant's proposal during their June 15 Municipal Planning Commission meeting.

The applicant requested that he be allowed to build the new structure with what would have amounted to a zero-foot side and front yard setback.

However, councillors granted the application but made it conditional on increasing the side set back to five feet.

Development officer Jenny Bruns said the resident, Dain Duarte, made the application to rectify a violation, which hasn't been an issue until recently.

Basically, she said, Duarte wants to replace his old boat shed with a newer, smaller building on the same site.

The problem, Bruns said, is that the boatshed is not entirely on his property, adding the structure is about half on his neighbour's property.

The neighbour requested that the shed be moved off their property.

The existing building is also located only a few feet from the county's municipal public reserve (MR).

She added that to rectify the problem so that the new boatshed is entirely on his property, Duarte proposes to build a smaller structure, with two of the walls snuggled right up to the property line. The new shed would be two by four metres.

"He feels that he has about six inches, but there was no measurement done on this [real property report] so I am assuming it is at zero, or at best two inches," Bruns said.

Deputy reeve Marvin Schatz asked why he could not just move the shed further onto his property to keep in line with the county's setback requirements.

Bruns said he is restricted by a firepit on one side and the slope of his property on the other. She said while it is theoretically possible to move the building's footprint in one direction, it would require a lot more effort and expense.

"He also wants to keep it there because it is closer to his dock and it is handier to have all his boating things there," she said.

Coun. Darrell Troock said he could not support the application while the county was in the process of undertaking its lake policy review.

The review was made necessary in part due to the number of residents adjacent to the MR who have decided to use the public land as an extension of their property.

In May 2019, administration staff along with a community peace officer toured the public reserve along the lake and took more than 400 pictures of residents who violated its Public Reserves Bylaw.

"We are going to be going out there [Thunder Lake] and doing some controls to remove things off the municipal reserves. To sit here and allow this application, we are shooting ourselves in the foot," Troock said.

Schatz and Coun. Bill Lane reminded Troock that the boatshed is not on the MR lands.

Troock agreed but noted, "It is encroaching on it."

"The real property report says he is on his property line," Bruns replied.

She added that she is more concerned that the applicant's fire pit is on the MR but said that is an issue they will deal with separately.

"The question is, do we want it that close to the neighbour?," Bruns said, adding she recommended rejecting the application.

She noted that the property is in a Residential Recreation District and under the Land-use Bylaw, requiring front, side and rear yard setbacks of 25, five and 19.7 feet respectively.

"Traditionally in Thunder Lake and Lightning Bay we haven't allowed variances on the side yards, because they are so important for neighbour relations," Bruns said, adding they have made the occasional allowance on front and rear yard setbacks, including zero variances.

Barry Kerton,


Barry Kerton

About the Author: Barry Kerton

Barry Kerton is the managing editor of the Barrhead Leader, joining the paper in 2014. He covers news, municipal politics and sports.
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