Jeff Heuchert, Stratford Gazette
A North Easthope family is seeking approval from the county to sever a woodlot on its property to establish a piece of public parkland.
About 10 years ago, the small section of Robert and Marjorie Irvine’s farm property in the west end of Shakespeare was subject to heavy flooding. It was then they decided to convert the land into a nature area, planting trees with the assistance of the conservation authority.
Now their property is up for sale and they want to ensure the woodlot survives, to be enjoyed not only by their family but by the residents of the village as well. They intend to maintain ownership of the roughly one acre lot through a family trust.
“We’re trusting our family,” Robert told county councillors last week. “They are very responsible people and they’ve agreed (to look after the property).”
Warden Ian Forrest supported the idea of more parkland to help boost ecotourism in the village. He also suggested down the road the sidewalk in Shakespeare might be extended to the west, giving shoppers and tourists easy access to the parkland.
The county’s planning department recommended the proposal be rejected because the new lot would be land-locked, with no access to a public road.
Director of planning and development, Dave Hanly, suggested a strip of land along the westerly portion of the Irvine’s property could be deeded in conjunction with the proposal to provide public road access to the parkland.
As it stands, access to the parkland would be only through an easement on the westerly portion of the property that goes over private property.
Coun. Bob Wilhelm called the proposal “messy.”
“If you want people to use (the property), you should give them proper access, and not be going through other people’s property.”
Still, Perth County councillors approved the proposal in principle last week, but will wait to review the final wording of the necessary amendments at their next meeting before giving final consent.