On March 20th, South Dundas council declared 397.31 acres of land as surplus. The decision has opened the door for the land on County Road 8 to be sold.
There are, however, those in South Dundas who strongly oppose the sale of the public land they call the ‘400.’
A passionate ‘letter to the editor’ was published in the April 11th issue of The Leader pleading the case for keeping the ‘400’ in public hands. Tyler Mills, author of the letter, asked for support from fellow township residents to save the land.
In that same edition of The Leader, it was reported that council, at the April 3rd meeting, approved a recommendation to hire Bowfin Environmental Consulting to complete a species at risk study, moving the land closer to sale.
On April 13th, Jim Mills, father to Tyler, contacted The Leader. As of that moment, he reported that he had attained 800 taxpayer signatures on a petition to stop the sale of the land.
“I received a call from the mayor (Steven Byvelds) yesterday,” he informed. “He said that my petition was useless without a letter with each with their concerns on why the land should be kept.”
Upset by the mayor’s message, Mills said, “we’re flooding the council meeting on Tuesday (April 17th). I expect to have 100 people there.”
“We have constitutional rights,” he continued. “I think a lot of decisions this current council’s making are one-sided and not in the best interest of the general public.”
The land, he said, “belongs to the taxpayers of South Dundas. It doesn’t cost anything to maintain.”
His message followed that of his son Tyler’s ‘letter to the editor’: “This land is virtually maintenance free to this townhsip. The road that runs through it is unmaintained, it is overgrown, and tore up from years of riding and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Also, in his letter, Tyler informed that the ‘400’ “is a playground of a different kind, a playground without monkey bars, swings, or slides, but a playground none the less.”
“This property has provided recreation of a different variety to many outdoorsmen. ATV, dirt bike, skidoo riders, cross-country skiers, nature enthusiasts, and families from in and out of this township who prefer the serenity, seclusion, and natural beauty of this property to the other public parks and recreation areas in the township,” he continued.
“The impact on the folks who use this public property could be potentially devastating, for it is truly the last large piece of bush that exists in this township, as the satellite imagery will confirm.”
According to Jim Mills, he is asking that residents of South Dundas come together on this issue and “support me because I’m supporting you.”
The April 17th South Dundas council meeting took place following The Leader’s press deadline. Look for coverage of the meeting’s events in next week’s paper, April 25th.