Find Out What You Don’t Know – What is “shoreline road allowance”?
What is a shoreline road allowance (SRA)? Well, in the late 19th century, the Crown told their surveyors to lay out 66-foot road allowances along the banks of lakes and rivers in Ontario. These road allowances were used for logging and transportation of goods. Today, there is very little use commercially for road allowances. Since road allowances no longer had use for commercial uses, the road allowances were turned over by the Crown. They gave them to the individual municipality the lakes were in. This leaves the road allowances being owned publicly.
Over The Years…
Over the years, landowners have been offered the ability to purchase the SRA from the municipality. By owning the SRA there would be fewer restrictions due to setbacks for the seller on uses and buildings. Many landowners did purchase the SRA, but many did not. Past enforcement of rules was not a priority, so many cottages, boathouses, and docks were built on these SRAs. With today’s tighter enforcement and environmental protection, problems can now arise with current and future usage if the SRA is not owned. That said “riparian rights” does say you could build a dock on the SRA, for example, and enjoy it without any problems.
Closing or purchasing your SRA is an option if the landowner is willing to go through the process and pay the municipality. Don’t worry no one could purchase the SRA other than the immediately adjoining land owner. The landowner completes the application process to purchase the SRA. I recommend approaching the municipal planner about any plans to do so. There are some municipalities now that limit how many of the SRAs they sell per year. The SRAs are an additional source of income for the municipality. They would like to spread out the returns as rates escalate over time along with real estate values.
In some cases, buying the SRA just does not make sense for a property owner. Existing cottages and buildings are well off the SRA. Their access is secured by riparian rights, so usage is not an issue. As long as there are no future plans to build, there is no reason to purchase.
If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to ask!
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