Banning vehicles from all Lambton Shores beaches

Banning vehicles from all Lambton Shores beaches one option for Ipperwash issue

 Dollars to act and governments to listen was a constant theme at the Centre Ipperwash Association (CICA) hosted meeting in Port Franks Saturday afternoon.
Dollars to act and governments to listen was a constant theme at the Centre Ipperwash Association (CICA) hosted meeting in Port Franks Saturday afternoon.

Pat Davis was in the gallery representing Lambton Kent Middlesex MP Bev Shipley. There was no one there from the Ministry of Natural Resources or a member of provincial parliament. There were OPP officers in the crowd but were not identified as such. People were told the officers would be waiting outside to chat and answer questions after the meeting.

Hundreds of Centre Ipperwash cottage owners from Canada and the USA attended in hopes of getting answers to their questions as to how the barricades on their deeded beach were now in the possession of Kettle Stony Point chief Tom Bressette. Residents from other parts of Lambton Shores also attended with one man telling the crowd he owned in Port Franks and was there to listen “because his beach front could be next.”

The meeting pegged as an information session had property rights, recent history and safety concerns, environment and public enjoyment of the beach discussed before it was opened to questions from the floor.

Weber said the municipality has concerns with the environment and safety and feels there is no reason for change what has worked since 1973. Council has directed staff to come up with a by-law to restrict vehicles on any Lambton Shores. He said they are also in continued discussions with the provincial based Ministries of Natural Resources, Aboriginal Affairs and the OPP.

One point that came across loud and clear was from CICA vice chair Gerry Rupke who explained the Invasive Species Act legislation could be legislated in 2015. If passed, the act will protect the province’s natural environment from invasive species and the significant social, environmental, and economic costs they pose for Ontarians. “That,” says Rupke, “Is significant to Ipperwash that has concerns about 20 species such as snakes and turtles and the Blueheart that is on the endangered list and In Canada, is limited to three locations along a 10-kilometre stretch of the Lake Huron shoreline within the area between Kettle Point and Pinery Provincial Park at Ipperwash Beach.” Rupke said the eco system is important to the Great Lakes and vehicles crush the food chain and destroy the dunes.

Those in attendance said they have never had an issue with the public using the beach but that it must be understood there is no land claim on this beach and that they have deeded rights.

The meeting got heated when one owner insisted the municipality just put the 40 year-old barriers back up and the mayor said that would prove nothing as they would be “taken down as quickly as they went up and it would result in confrontation.”

People wanted to know why the native people were not charged by the OPP when they removed the barriers on December 5th. Others wanted to know who exactly was investigating the “Historic Trail” and wondered exactly where it was. Chief Bressette refers to this trail in his reasons for taking the barriers down.

“We will not win this fight,” stated one owner, “Why don’t we just see what Bressette wants. “Let’s face reality, we are not going to get support from the governments. Common sense says there should not be cars on the beach. What does the chief want? Does he want money? Does he want the MNR parking lots? We have to get those cars off the beach. I should not have to tell my kids to look both ways when they go for a swim. Give the parking lots to them if that is what they want.” The gallery did not agree with his solution.

CICA president Eugene Dorey told the group they need to individually write letters to upper tier governments and asked for a show of support for dollars to a fund legal fees and much of the room raised their hands.

“CICA will not fall by the wayside. We intend to keep this in the public eye. We are committed to not have this buried,” said Dorey.