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Encroachment at Conestogo Park formalized with land owner

Conestogo Park has been short-changed for more than 40 years, but Woolwich is in no hurry to reclaim the land. In fact, the township has now formalized the arrangement.

In preparing to sell the house at 41 Evening Star Lane, the executors of the estate discovered the home’s garage encroached on township property by some 11 feet, and had been doing so for more than four decades. That’s about as long as the park’s been there.

In order to get a clear title, the executors first tried to buy the strip of land, but were unable to negotiate a price with the township, director of recreation and facilities Larry Devitt told councillors meeting Monday night. Eventually, both sides opted for an encroachment agreement, providing a 15-foot strip adjacent to the house.

The agreement will remain in place while the structure stands. If the garage is ever torn down, the land will revert to township control, he said.

Noting the township has a variety of outstanding encroachment problems – most notably with fences and sheds built on municipal property at the rear of some yards – Coun. Ruby Weber cautioned about setting a precedent with this agreement.

“Encroachment problems are going to become a big issue.”

That the encroachment dated back so many decades to the time of the park’s creation makes it something of an anomaly, Devitt stressed. Councillors agreed, voting in favour of the new agreement.

In other business related to the park, councillors approved the necessary road closures to allow for the annual Victoria Day fireworks display in Conestogo.

The display, set to go May 24, will require the usual closure of Elgin Street West, Evening Star Lane and Feodore Street. Activities will run from 5 to 11:30 p.m.

Past concerns about fire safety have been addressed without the need to move the event. An agreement with the Conestogo-Winterbourne Optimist Club means the types of fireworks used will provide the necessary setbacks from surrounding buildings and spectators, Woolwich fire chief Rick Pedersen said.

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