OPG selling off waterfront land

Waterfront land owned by Ontario Power Generation is going up for sale in South Dundas.

OPG Real Estate is undertaking a province-wide review of its surplus lands and in that review they have so far decided that six waterfront properties in Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry are surplus to OPG’s operational needs. The identified lots are vacant and zoned for residential use, so OPG has applied to the United Counties to sever the properties to allow them to be sold as building lots.

Four of the land division applications are in South Dundas, two along Lakeshore Drive, one at the intersection of Lakeshore Drive and County Road 2 and the other at the east end of Grisdale Boulevard. The other two are in South Stormont on Ault Island.

Asked if OPG has previously severed land for sale in SD&G, Cathy Nelson, counties planning secretary, said, “This is the first I’ve seen.” Nelson has been working with the counties in the land severance division for about 10 years.

The application process for these lands is underway with abutting property owners sent notice of the severance applications. The applications have been circulated to agencies including the two municipalities and South Nation Conservation for comment.

Of the adjacent landowners who received notification, about a dozen have contacted the counties to allow them the opportunity to voice their concerns/objections through the public process, before  the County decides on whether or not to grant the land severances.

One home owner with concerns recently contacted The Leader to express her concerns and to help raise awareness that this land severance process is taking place.

Sara Lawson holds the land licence on the OPG-owned property at the end of Grisdale Boulevard. This land severance, if successful, will privatize the whole 2.5 acre waterfront section that she presently maintains and uses according to OPG specifications.

Her land licence, which expires in 2016, will be cancelled.

“I feel that a discrimination has taken place,” said Lawson, “Everyone else gets to keep the licensed bits of land in front of them.” Lawson expressed her disappointment and explained that she has always been a careful steward of the land being ever mindful of the historical and ecological significance of the area. “We didn’t ask to have this land kept by OPG. They kept it.”

“I would lose my river access,” says Lawson, adding that she won’t be the only one as she has always been open to the fishermen, walkers and other people using the river access respectfully.

“We’re not a city,” said Lawson. “It is so shortsighted to let this be developed as residential land when there are houses for sale all over that seem to be showing little signs of movement.”

“OPG does not have a specific number of applications/schedule for applications identified at this time for future severances,” said Neal Kelly, Director Media, Issues, Information Management Ontario Power Generation. 

“If the current severance and sale is successful, OPG may proceed to sell other properties in the area.”

He further explained that, the OPG-owned lands licensed to private residential owners along the St. Lawrence differ in terms of permitted uses, elevations, environmental constraints, access, and the majority are waterfront lands maintained for OPG’s operational purposes. 

OPG’s program of licensing some properties to adjacent owners will continue as a means of managing these waterfront operational lands. 

The lands subject to the current severance applications offer characteristics that allow for their development as residential lots. In those circumstances, if the lot is deemed applicable for sale, the current Waterfront Licence may be cancelled. 

These Licensees will have the same opportunity as other potential buyers to purchase the properties. 

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