CENTRAL MANITOULIN – Concerns raised by some residents of the Dominion Bay subdivision in Spring Bay about non-residents coming to Manitoulin from southern urban centres and setting up camp on the subdivision’s water access has led to a decision by the municipal council to install “no overnight camping” signs.
While there was clearly a consensus on Central Manitoulin council for the move, the decision was delayed for a couple of weeks at the behest of Councillor Derek Stephens who had pointed out that the access point was unique in the municipality as it was registered on the deeds of several property owners in the area and that they should be surveyed as to their wishes.
Following a significant positive response to letters sent out to homeowners that would be impacted by the decision, council decided to place the requested signs when it becomes possible in the spring.
“We were very pleased at how quickly the council did it,” said Marg Wilton, one of the homeowners who had expressed concern. Her husband Mike Wilton’s letter to council had sparked the debate. “They sent letters to all the residents,” she said. “We were worried that they wouldn’t get a lot of response because there are a lot of absentee owners here, but apparently they got quite a few responses back.”
Mr. Wilton had noted in his letter that he had observed groups of people setting up camp on the access point and that those people had self-identified as being from southern Ontario urban centres. The campers believed they had the right to use the property they were camping on as it was Crown land—it is not; the access point is municipal property.
The “no overnight camping” signs will help to make it clear to those arriving at the site that the property is not Crown land.
The motion to place the signs was moved by Councillor Derek Stephens and seconded by Councillor Rose Diebolt.
“I am glad to see we contacted the rest of the owners,” he said. “Nobody had a problem with (placing the no camping signs).”