Residents upset with possible closure to South Lakeside boat access

City council is recommending closing vehicle and motor boat access to the lake at Dutch Point Road because of safety concerns.

City council is recommending closing vehicle and motor boat access to the lake at Dutch Point Road because of safety concerns, a move that doesn’t sit well with some local residents.

“We gathered a petition last spring with 300 signatures against the closure,” Greg Van Soest told the Tribune Wednesday.

“Why hasn’t there been any consultation with residents? I have been using that boat launch for more than 30 years and now it’s suddenly a safety issue?”

Lakes have to have legal access at certain intervals, he said, insisting the access shouldn’t be blocked there until another boat launch is built on the lake.

“I’m upset,” he said.

“When we took our petition to city council they told us they would get ahold of CN Rail to try and make a new boat launch,” Van Soest recalled. “They will have to consult the federal and provincial governments and that will take at least two years.”

The decision to close vehicle access at the boat launch was discussed at the committee of the whole meeting Tuesday, but no final decisions were made.

People will still access the lake at Dutch Point Road, but won’t be able to go in there by vehicle.

In his report, planner Nigel Whitehead said an informal turnaround at the end of Dutch Point Road, located mostly on private property, has since been blocked by the property owner, meaning there is now no turn-around for Dutch Point Road.

“The only area for public turn-around is to make a three point turn into the existing lake access,” Whitehead noted. “This can be a somewhat difficult maneuver as the lake access drops off quite sharply.”

Provision of a turn-around at the end of Dutch Point Road will be addressed separately by the works department, in order to deal with effective delivery of services such as emergency response, snow clearing and solid waste pickup, he added.

“Creating and improving access to the lake is a priority,” Mayor Kerry Cook said. “We’re not closing access, but restricting vehicle access. Council has asked staff to look at other options for lake access and make recommendations to improve the beach, boat launch and access into Scout Island.”

If vehicle lake access is closed at Dutch Point Road, staff will look into developing right-angle parking on the road, although in that plan there would only be enough room for three regular parking spaces, one disability parking space and one space for turnaround/loading.