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TBM toes line on 1800s fence act

The line fences act, passed in 1834, is meant to help settle fence-related disputes between neighbours
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The Town of The Blue Mountains will continue to use the line fences act across the municipality.

At its committee of the whole meeting on June 5, council voted in favour of a staff report from Clerk Corrina Giles recommending the application of the line fences act continue in all parts of the community.

The town had been mulling the possibility of opting out of the line fences act, as the legislation has rarely been used in the town. Over the past 15 years there have been just five fence vieweings. At the time, staff suggested the courts be used to settle any fence-related disputes between neighbours.

This possibility prompted the former deputy mayor, Duncan McKinlay, to approach council about the possibility of continuing to use the legislation in the rural areas of the community.

Staff looked into that option and reported back that it was best to leave the act in place across the municipality.

“It’s pretty much status quo,” said Deputy Mayor Peter Bordignon.

The line fences act is one of the oldest pieces of legislation in Ontario, predating Confederation, as it was first implemented in 1834. The act helps adjudicate disputes between neighbours over the location of fences between two properties.

Under the act, the municipality appoints fence viewers who are responsible for assisting with the settling of disputes between neighbours over the placement of fences, at the request of one of the property owners. The fences in question would have to be placed directly on the property line and the property line cannot be in dispute.

Giles said the town would immediately advertise for five fence viewers to serve during the 2022-26 council term.

A resident request for a fence viewing costs $225, while the fence viewers are paid $20 per hour, plus mileage.


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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
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