Skip to content

Grey Highlands wants to buy OPG lands on Lake Eugenia

OPG seeking to sell former lake access points to neighbouring property owners, Grey Highlands now interested in purchasing the lands
The area of the former public access to Lake Eugenia on Point Road.

The Municipality of Grey Highlands is interested in purchasing properties on Lake Eugenia currently owned by Ontario Power Generation (OPG) that were once leased by the municipality to provide public access to the lake.

At its meeting on June 21, council held a lengthy closed session to discuss the OPG lake access lands that have emerged as a controversial topic in the community recently. After the closed session, council directed staff to investigate the possibility of purchasing the OPG-owned properties.

“If they become available, council is interested in purchasing or leasing them depending on OPG’s stance,” Deputy Mayor Dane Nielsen said in an interview the day after the meeting. “These are access points the municipality had leased for 40 years.”

OPG has an active application in front of the Grey Highlands committee of adjustment to sever three small parcels of land off its holdings on the lake and sell them to abutting property owners as lot additions. At a meeting on June 13, the committee heard significant public opposition to OPG's proposal and deferred a decision on the matter until council’s position on the issue was clear.

The area of the former public access point to Lake Eugenia on Sideroad 30. Chris Fell/CollingwoodToday

The small pieces of waterfront property are owned by OPG. One is located off of Point Road and the other (proposed to be two severances) Sideroad 30. For decades, the municipality leased the properties from OPG to provide public access to the lake.

In recent years, the municipality’s lease on the properties ended. The municipality does continue to operate a public beach and boat launch for Lake Eugenia accessible from Canrobert Street.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the OPG-owned boat launches experienced significantly higher volumes from visitors which led to concerns about parking, garbage and lack of washroom facilities. At that time, OPG decided to begin the process of severing and selling the lands.

OPG initially sought to sever and sell the properties as separate lots, however, this led to concerns from the public, the committee of adjustment and the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority about the lots being undersized. After multiple committee of adjustment deferrals, OPG reconfigured their applications to be severances to be sold to neighbouring property owners.

At council’s meeting on June 21, multiple members of the public spoke during the open forum portion of the proceedings and urged council to do what it takes to keep the access points in public hands.

Sharon Wickens told council several years ago her son was involved in a boating accident on the lake and emergency personnel used the Sideroad 30 access to assist.

“If emergency personnel had not been able to access this point, the families would have been gathering at the funeral home and not the hospital,” she said.

Andrew Brown said the only residents in favour of the OPG proposal were the “few to gain from the process.”

“It’s quite clear what the public opinion is on this matter,” said Brown. “People have been enjoying these accesses since the lake was formed. Do the right things and keep the lake accesses open.”

Reader Feedback

About the Author: Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Chris Fell covers The Blue Mountains and Grey Highlands under the Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the Government of Canada
Read more