Central debates Carter Bay development

Seeks ruling on status of 10’ X 10’ structures

CARTER BAY—The Carter Bay property, with its iconic sand dunes and pristine desolate shores, has long been a source of controversy confounding Central Manitoulin staff and municipal councillors and in that regard little has changed in recent times. Currently, the fate of a small building constructed on one of the lots in the property remains up in the air while council sorts out information on what can, and cannot, be done on a lot in the unregistered subdivision.

A large group of Carter Bay property owners had come to present delegations to a Central Manitoulin council meeting opposing any building in the sensitive area and demanding that the town enforce its own bylaws and reinstate an order to demolish the offending structure.

“No, we didn’t come to a resolution on it yet,” said Mayor Richard Stephens. “We discussed it a bit at Thursday’s Finance and Administration committee meeting, but there is still some information that we feel we need clarified before we proceed to any decision on the matter.”

The status of the property is not clear in the minds of the council members, noted the mayor. “That property was originally set up as a subdivision with lots and channels, but it was never registered as such,” he explained. “Even though it was drawn up, and the maps and diagrams are very pretty and detailed, it was never properly registered.”

In order to circumvent the challenge of the consolidation of the property, a previous owner had come up with an innovative, if problematic, solution. “They checker boarded it,” he said.

The mayor explained that two property lots with the same owner would normally be consolidated into a single parcel of land. The previous owners used separate companies in which to hold the adjacent lots, thereby ensuring they would be kept as separate pieces of land.

“Now my understanding is that the new owner has put all of the lots under the same company,” said the mayor. “That would merge those individual lots into one large parcel.”

There are still over 100 owners of individual lots within the overall boundaries of the larger Carter Bay properties and a large number of those owners, along with the current owner of the larger parcel Carter Bay Properties LLC (aka former Little Current resident Michael Bailey), have opposed any development. But another group of property owners have built structures, most of them out of sight (out of mind), in apparent contravention of the town’s long standing policy of not allowing development: building permits are not issued by the municipality for any construction at Carter Bay.

“We have to determine what that word ‘development’ means,” said Mayor Stephens.

There are two parts to the issue, according to the mayor.

“The first is that the building we are currently talking about, the owner claims is 10 foot by 10 foot, so is under the 100 square feet size where you don’t need to get a building permit,” he said. “So is a 100 square-foot building really ‘development’? Two, it falls down to a bit of interpretation and so we are seeking Ministry (of Municipal Affairs and Housing) direction on the matter.”

As to the other “hidden” structures that have so far been off the radar: “We have heard rumours of that sort of thing,” said the mayor. “I think that when the Manitoulin Planning Board’s overhead system is in place a lot of those places will be picked up.”