PUSLINCH – The Township of Puslinch will be seeking discussion with the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA), the Puslinch Lake Conservation Association (PLCA) and the local ski school and trailer resort to nail down how to bring back public access to Puslinch Lake.
This was the direction council gave staff after discussing a report highlighting difficulties including theft of surveying markings, signs and cars parked in fire routes at a public right-of-way where the township was creating an access point.
Staff had been working on creating the public access at Travelled Road near Swastika Trail after the last remaining public access at McClintock’s Trailer Resort and Ski School restricted access to their beach and boat launch to guests and customers only in July 2020.
At a Wednesday meeting, Puslinch council approved directing staff to bring forward designs for more permanent markings and signs at the Travelled Road access point to make it accessible to pedestrians only.
However, much of the discussion revolved around having an alternative option for public access due to the shortcomings of the Travelled Road right-of-way especially in regards to local parking options.
“The carpool park is an eight minute walk, so are people now going to be parking at the carpool and walking down a county road with their canoe?” Coun. Sara Bailey said.
“I just don’t know if that’s going to open up some issues but I think it’s kind of the only option we have at this point.”
Coun. Jessica Goyda noted this problem as well, but asked if there had been any formal discussions with the GRCA on creating an agreement to allow or build access on their land that fronts onto the lake.
Coun. Matthew Bulmer, a long time councillor, said this subject had been broached with the GRCA before but never resulted in anything positive.
Mayor James Seeley noted there are a lot of rumours why the GRCA doesn’t want to have an access such as the land being mostly swamp or it being prohibitively expensive.
“I think we need to hear these answers because then we might have the opportunity to close this road allowance and convey the property to the adjacent landowners and get rid of that problem if we create an access somewhere else,” Seeley said.
Coun. John Sepulis put in the suggestion to involve the PLCA as they have benefitted from township grants, which he estimated at being around $300,000 since 2009.
“We gave the grants to clean up the lake and the cleaned-up lake is not only for the residents around Puslinch Lake but it is supposed to support the rest of our residents,” Sepulis said.
“My suggestion is to ask them to help us and assist in providing better access to Puslinch Lake. They may have ways and means we’re not aware of.”
Sepulis also threw out the possibility of re-engaging with the McClintocks to see if some sort of agreement could be made to bring back the public access and boat launch that existed before, even if that included some township funding.
Council unanimously approved exploring options with the GRCA, PLCA and the McClintocks on a public access point for Puslinch Lake.