Council votes to preserve Fish Lake public access

(Gazette file photo)

Amid concerns about losing public access to water, council defeated a motion to close, declare surplus, and convey an unopened road allowance along a Fish Lake property.

Back in October 2017 property owners James and Raeanne Neilson requested council close a portion of the road allowance as it ran through their property, effectively dividing it in two. There were no concerns shared about the proposal during a public meeting in January. While a staff report recommended the road allowance be closed and the property conveyed to the landowners, councillors felt access to the water should be preserved.

Councillor Brad Nieman was among those who voted against conveying the parcel to the property owners.

“I believe we need access to that water and it’s public access right now,” he said.

Councillor Dianne O’Brien also didn’t support the move.

“Even if we do have access on the other side, no matter what we’re taking away one with this recommendation,” she said.

A supplementary report provided to council Tuesday evening indicates that staff believe the unopened road allowance serves no present or future need for the municipality for infrastructure. The report says access to the lake can be provided through another unopened road allowance on the opposite side of the lake. It also suggests the road allowances show no substantial use by the public for access to Fish Lake.