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ICYMI: Belwood cottager suing GRCA, neighbour for $1.2 million

Renter alleges conservation authority appropriated part of their laneway and added it to neighbouring lot
Keegan Kozolanka/EloraFergusToday file photo

This article was previously published on GuelphToday.

A dispute between Belwood Lake cottage neighbours is heading to court, with the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) also named as a defendant in a $1.2 million lawsuit.

Claiming loss of the “covenant of quiet enjoyment” on the lot they’ve leased for 20.5 years, as well as alleged drainage-related damages to the property, one neighbour is seeking $700,000 from the other neighbour. That’s in addition to $500,000 from the GRCA for allegedly breaking its lease agreement and allowing the situation to unfold as it has.

The court is also being asked to order the GRCA to restore an altered laneway to its previous condition, as well as update the plaintiff’s lease to specify the laneway as exclusively belonging to their lot. 

“The unwarranted trespass and intrusion by the (neighbours) by way of continued reconstruction and extension of the laneway … proceeded unfettered, with the blessing and enablement of GRCA, in the summer of 2022,” reads the statement of claim. “The fact remains that in spite of requests from the plaintiff to GRCA, nothing has been done to return the laneway back to its original slope.”

The lawsuit was filed in Orangeville. None of the allegations in the lawsuit have been tested or proven in court.

Efforts to reach a GRCA spokesperson weren’t immediately successful. Both the neighbours and conservation authority have filed notices of intent to defend, but not statements of defence at this time.

As alleged in the lawsuit, it all began when the GRCA appropriated a portion of the plaintiff’s cottage laneway and added it to the neighbouring lot. The neighbours then cut down mature trees and altered the slope of the laneway, resulting in water and drainage issues on the plaintiff’s side of the property line.

It’s further alleged the neighbour’s drainage tile installation resulted in damage to the shoreline, limiting the plaintiff’s access to the lake and eliminating the ability to place a dock where they had in the past.

“The plaintiff is entitled to complete, full, undisturbed, exclusive possession and use of (their lot) inclusive of the laneway as it was found prior to  the commencement of the unlawful construction by the (neighbours), encouraged facilitated and agreed to by GRCA,” the statement of claim notes.

“(The neighbours) have knowingly, wilfully and unlawfully harassed,  obstructed, threatened, and interfered with the use and enjoyment of (the plaintiff’s leased lot).”


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Richard Vivian

About the Author: Richard Vivian

Richard Vivian is an award-winning journalist and longtime Guelph resident. He joined the GuelphToday team as assistant editor in 2020, largely covering municipal matters and general assignment duties
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