SCOI executive members met with the Chief on June 7th to discuss a number of issues of interest to our members.
Following is a list of items which were discussed. To read details on any topic, please click the red plus sign.
Removing vehicles from the Beach
The Chief indicated that vehicles will be banned from the beach with the exception of those that belong to Band members, cottagers who have beach-only access to their cottages as well as security and emergency vehicles.
The entrance to the Beach at Main Street will be completely blocked off. There will be no vehicular access to the Beach from Main Street. At the Silver Lake Road (16th Street) and French Bay Road access points, the Band is considering placing large cement lane dividers in such a way as to create a single lane that is configured in an “s” shape with signage that indicates access is only for cottage owners and Band members. At this time there is no plan to have staff specifically assigned to these access points.
CanCom (519-379-4760) will once again be patrolling the beaches as well as the rest of the Saugeen First Nation lands. Currently they begin at 8:30am and are on duty until 2am. In another 2 weeks they will be patrolling 24/7.
If at anytime you think there is a vehicle on the beach that is not entitled to be there or one that is driving dangerously, you should call CanCom and indicate the location and give a description of the vehicle.
The Band is still working on its options re: parking and transportation to the beach for day visitors. When these plans have been firmed up we will once again post the information on the SCOI website. Please be sure to subscribe to updates (top right on the home page).
High water levels and access for beach-only access cottage owners
The Band is considering contingency plans to accommodate beach-only access cottage owners if lake water levels reach a point that prevent beach access. Parking close by and right-of-way access to reduce walking distance are part of the considerations. Once again, if lake levels get too high we will post the accommodations being implemented by the Band.
Progress on transition to the First Nations’ Land Management Act
The Land Plan, an integral component of the documentation required in making the transition, is in the process of being reviewed by members of the Band. The Chief felt that the Plan was being well received and that there would be a vote on a final version sometime within the next year. This suggests that the transition should be completed before the term of our current lease expires (April 2021). We will therefore not likely be dealing with lease extensions but rather will have a new lease directly with the Band (rather than the Crown as it is now).
The Chief gave us some insight into what the Band has in mind for the next lease. Because cottagers will be increasingly anxious as the lease term draws near, the Chief agreed to have Kirk Roote, Lands and Leasing Manager, send a letter to all lease holders outlining some of general directions the Band is hoping to go with in the next lease. Everything we heard sounded positive and reassuring and we look forward to hearing from Kirk directly.
Band expectations re: septic systems being brought up to code
After our recent post about progress being made on upgrading of septic systems, we received a number of comments asking that the Band send a letter to all lease holders explaining the Band’s expectations re: lease holders being expected to at the least have their system inspected and if work is required, engage with a contractor to get on a waiting list to have the work done. The concern was that this message was coming through SCOI rather than the Band directly and only about 40% of lease holders are signed up to receive website updates. The Chief agreed to ask Kirk to include this as an additional item in his letter to lease holders.
Aboriginal Day (June 21) fireworks postponed
The Chief indicated that the Aboriginal Day fireworks, which in recent years has been held on June 21st on the French Bay Road Point at the South end of the Main Beach, has been postponed. Firstly, with high lake levels, the location is inadequate for this event this year. Secondly, the Band’s amphitheatre restoration project is progressing very well and will be back in use later in the summer. The fireworks used to be at the amphitheatre before moving to the Beach a few years ago.
The new date and location for this year will be on Saturday, August 10 at the Amphitheatre (at the United Church on the south side of highway 21 in Saugeen overlooking the Saugeen River). Everyone is welcome and we encourage you to attend both for the fireworks and to see the refurbished Amphitheatre and surrounding dry stonewall works. Please see the separate post on the Amphitheatre project.