Meaford council met in closed session on Monday October 3rd, in part to discuss the recent ruling in the Georgian Beach Road lawsuit.
At the conclusion of the meeting, which lasted nearly four and a half hours, Deputy Mayor Harley Greenfield told The Independent that a statement from the municipality would be released Tuesday afternoon.
“Council did have discussion this afternoon with their lawyers concerning the Georgian Beach lawsuit,” said Greenfield, “As far as any future decisions, we certainly made some today, but we don't have a statement formulated yet. That should be ready by tomorrow afternoon.”
Greenfield also said that it is not yet known if the municipality will appeal the summary judgement issued by Justice Daley on September 21, which dismissed the lawsuit that the municipality had filed in 2007 against property owners on Georgian Beach Road.
“We're not there yet,” said Greenfield, “We have until October 11th to decide on an appeal, and a number of other things; the appeal is likely the most important. We haven't decided that. A decision of yes or no on an appeal will not be part of tomorrow's statement. It's likely going to be at least a few more days before we make major decisions as far as an appeal.”
The case which began in 2007, has pitted the municipality against some of the property owners on Georgian Beach Road who the municipality claimed had blocked access along the water side of their properties angering some residents who maintained that the area in question is a public road access.
The municipality filed a lawsuit that has in large part hinged on a bylaw from 1854 that they say proves that the road exists and has never been officially closed off.
Though the initial lawsuit was brought against just a few property owners, when the case finally reached a courtroom last year, the judge ordered that the municipality must include all property owners along the stretch of road which expanded the case to some 70 properties.
In his ruling which is dated September 21, Justice Daley said that the 1854 bylaw is not sufficient proof that a road existed.
“The record is clear that the defendants’ cottages have all been built or renovated with Meaford's permission on the basis that they were in conformity with the provisions of the applicable zoning by-laws. This conformity was judged in relation to the set back from the water's edge and not from the Disputed Road. Permits were issued by Meaford's Chief Building Official, who would have known of the existence and location of all streets and roads in order to ensure compliance with the applicable zoning by-laws,” read part of Justice Daley's 28 page ruling.
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