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Sunday, April 14, 2024
Dyck Lane ditched: Town closing lane’s access to Tanbark Road
Dyck Lane resident Cam Clayton shares concerns about accessing his home if the lane's access to Tanbark is cut off. EVAN LOREE
Milke Maves was one of two residents to raise concerns about plans to close access to Dyck Lane from Tanbark Road. EVAN LOREE

Despite objections from residents, Niagara-on-the-Lake council has decided to block road access to Dyck Lane from Tanbark Road in St. Davids. 

Residents of Dyck Lane showed up to a town meeting on Jan. 30 with objections to a plan that would close their only legal exit from the neighbourhood.

“You may not think it’s a big deal, but it is a big deal,” said Mike Maves, who lives in one of three homes on Dyck Lane.

A staff report attached to the meeting agenda states that residents of Dyck Lane will have access to their homes via Hickory Avenue.

But Cam Clayton, the other resident to speak up during the town meeting, said access from Hickory Avenue is illegal: it would require him and his neighbours to trespass on Maves’ property on their way in and out of their homes. 

“If you vote to block Dyck Lane, you will deprive us of the only legal access we have to our home,” Clayton said.

Part of Dyck Lane crosses Maves’ property. 

Residents are only permitted to drive through it because of a legal contract signed in 1969 that allowed residents to use a 10-foot-wide lane to pass along Maves’ lot when coming home.

Though the town’s legal counsel has stated that Hickory Avenue abuts the lane, Maves said there is an eight-foot-wide gap between the edge of the lane and Hickory Avenue.

That eight-foot gap is also part of Maves’ property.

“Obviously, we cannot drive anywhere we want on the Maves property,” Clayton said.

A provincial court would have to remove the legal right of way if the town and residents wished to close Dyck Lane, Clayton said. 

This is not the first time the town has considered closing Dyck Lane.

Resident Bill Krahn has been part of previous efforts to close the lane because traffic on the gravel street kicks up dust, which then settles on the properties that back the lane.

Krahn said he and his neighbours submitted a petition to close access to the lane from Tanbark, but town staff advised them that it wasn’t possible due to the same legal right of way cited by Maves and Clayton.

Complaints about the dust date back to 2017, the staff report said.

The access issues for Dyck Lane residents came up last January at a public meeting on a subdivision proposal from Gatta Homes.

Clayton said closing Dyck Lane was only urgent now because it would help move the Gatta project forward.

Krahn agreed.

“It’s not ’cause of the dust, it’s because there’s a new subdivision going in,” he said.

Closing access from Tanbark would “effectively expropriate a portion of our property,” Maves said.

“We also have safety concerns about the use of the new proposed intersection that the town will in effect be installing on our property,” he added.

Clayton told council the legal right of way could be removed by appealing the issue to a provincial court. 

Coun. Gary Burroughs, who voted against closing the access, said he was convinced the path suggested by Clayton was the best way to fix the problem.

“I’m not against closing it up but we’ve gotta get access for the couple of houses that are there onto Hickory,” Burroughs said.

evanloree@niagaranow.com

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