Land’escapes owner Ben Samann had asked Limerick Township to sell some shoreline road allowances around Dark Lake and Dixon Lake within the township back in March and this issue had not been dealt with officially until their meeting on Oct. 16, when the township voted not to sell these shoreline road allowances to Samann. Victoria Tisdale, the clerk and treasurer, and Samann both comment on this matter.
On March 4, Samann sent a letter to Tisdale about buying these shoreline road allowances around Dark Lake and Dixon Lake, as that was where he was seeing the most access to trespassing onto their trails, fireworks and other issues. This issue had been brought up at a planning meeting that month, according to Tisdale. “When we brought it to council, discussions ensued and took a bit of a turn in a different direction, so a motion was never officially recorded,” she says.
Samann said that he’d asked council to confirm the planning committee’s decision not to sell these shoreline road allowances as it seemed to him to be a minor administrative matter. “I’d asked to buy them to reduce trespassing access to our property and to be able to prevent people camping, having fires, and other shenanigans on the shores of the lakes, and I’d offered to continue to allow picnics and similar. I’m not sure why the township has declined to sell them,” he says.
Samann bought 65,530 acres in Hastings County back in 2021 under the business name Land’escapes. He said that he and his team had been inspired by carbon capture projects across Canada, like the NCC Darkwoods Conservation Area in British Columbia when coming up with the concept for Land’escapes. More details are available at www.landescapes.org.
Land’escapes is a unique private conservation project, offering its members The Park, a private nature reserve and members only park that focuses on conservation and low impact recreation, with no motorized vehicles allowed. It boasts over 26,000 acres in south-central Ontario. Land’escapes also has a Stewardship program and a number of conservation initiatives.
Tisdale told The Bancroft Times that she had not yet spoken with Land’escapes as of Oct. 18, but that Samann was aware that the motion had been voted down by council. “Mr. Samann asked if we could officially make a motion so that he could close out this portion of the file. Just housekeeping essentially. Council was not in favour of selling the shorelines around Dark and Dixon Lakes because many residents and visitors boat, kayak or canoe on those lakes and they need to have access to the shoreline for something as extreme as emergency purposes or as minor as a break for lunch,” she says. “I will the doing the minutes from council following this email being sent, at which time I will send Mr. Samann the official motion.”
Michael Riley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Bancroft Times