Canoe Beach lot lessees have another five years before they will have to remove their waterfront cabins.
Salmon Arm council has agreed to extend the city’s rental agreements with the tenants of 28 Canoe Beach lots for another five-year-period, beginning Nov. 1 of this year and ending on Oct. 31, 2021.
All tenants will be served notice that upon expiry of the agreements, they will be responsible for the removal of their respective structures on the city-owned land.
Furthermore, council has agreed to install a gate at the entrance to the “campsites” which will be locked from November until March.
A city staff report notes there are 28 rental lots (adjacent to Canoe Beach Park) that have become a major administrative burden to the city, with staff having been “embroiled in prolonged and protracted disputes and discussions on a multitude of issues” including lease/rental rates, flood construction levels and setbacks, demand for additions and redevelopment, excessive noise, non-payment of rent and legal challenges.
During a recent site visit, staff also discovered that at least one unauthorized septic system had been installed.
“The structures are in varying degrees of dilapidation and, without the ability to quickly and easily remedy these issues, renters will likely continue to complete unauthorized alterations,” city administrator Carl Bannister says in the report.
Bannister also notes insurance is becoming increasingly difficult to find for the 28 campsites, and it is felt the city would be left vulnerable if coverage is cancelled or denied.
The report says the five year term is in line with the city’s official community plan (OCP), which has been calling for an end to the waterfront residential leases since 2005.
Coun. Kevin Flynn said the renters have known for a long time that their lease would, at some point, be terminated.
He said five years is significant notice, adding the city is not raising their lease rates even though it would be justifiable for the waterfront lots.
“For the long-term benefit of the community, I think a Canoe Beach that’s accessible to more people and is a public park is more valuable than having a portion of it being used as lease lots…,” said Flynn.
“So I support the motion, I think it’s time. I think the OCP has been signalling this for years. And I think a lot of the feedback that was provided by the public at the well-attended park master plan discussions supports this movement by the city at this point in time. Am I happy to see the revenue gone? No. Do I think we could have perhaps extended it a little longer? Maybe. But I think the timing seems to be right…”
Coun. Tim Lavery emphasized the point that the lessees would be financially responsible for removing their respective structures from the lots.