Rondeau Cottagers Not Giving Up

Chatham-Kent Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Colby (Photo by Jake Kislinsky)

The reversal of Rondeau’s heritage bylaw isn’t deterring the park’s cottagers.

A ruling from the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) has forced Chatham-Kent to revoke the community’s heritage designation. However, Rondeau Cottagers Association President David Colby says the evidence proving the cottages are historically significant remains intact.

“There was no expert testimony to say this is not a heritage district of provincial significance,” says Colby. “Which is the highest standard we have.”

The Cottagers Association will now turn its attention to the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. While the Ministry of Natural Resources is in charge of provincial parks, Colby says they’ll look to Tourism Minister Eleanor McMahon for heritage designation at the provincial level.

“All of the legal documentation to support this is totally unchallenged,” says Colby. “I think there’s broad agreement from all parties that this community deserves heritage designation.”

Colby says there are no specific timelines for the cottagers to earn heritage designation. The association is also not ruling out the possibility of appealing the OMB’s decision.

The Municipality of Chatham-Kent originally completed a heritage study on the cottages in July 2015, which eventually led to a heritage bylaw in October. The OMB recently revoked that bylaw, because the cottages fall on provincially-owned land.