It was very unfortunate to see an original cottage (pre-1985) at the end of Hastings Drive owned by Christopher Bradley (Long Point Rate Payers' Association Board Member) and his wife Sarah Poole removed after almost two years of being knocked off its timber pile footings in the April 4th, 2018 wind storm (combined with record high water).
Nine months prior to this damaging storm in July, 2017 the Long Point Region Conservation Authority (LPRCA) Board approved and expedited shoreline maintenance and protection for all of Long Point which included Hastings Drive (LPRCA Motion A-173/17), due to the extreme high water in Lake Erie. David Cameron a Long Point Rate Payers' Association (LPRA) Board Member provided a key presentation in getting this Motion passed at this LPRCA Public Meeting regarding "Norfolk County Shoreline Protection Plan" highlighting data regarding the lake levels. It was noted that due to the high water, there will be a high risk for flooding and erosion this fall. He noted that shoreline protection is working, more is needed and suggested the LPRCA accelerate and demystify the approval process for applicants.
As a result of this LPRCA Shoreline Protection Motion now being approved, I was expecting Bradley's rather precarious property with an unmaintained break-wall of cement rubble at its end of life and a 50+ year old cottage which had rotting joists & timber piles to be secured & fortified right away to avoid the structural damage obtained 9 months later by the April 4th, 2018 storm, as many others in Long Point and on Hastings Drive did and were doing. Yet, this never occurred on the Bradley property.
Mr. Bradley was very well aware of the range of flooding and "overall impact of variable weather events on the shoreline and beach frontages on Hastings Drive", not only from being a Board member of the LPRA yet also because he was actively documenting and archiving various videos and pictures of Hastings Drive several years prior to 2017, which he presented as a witness at the OMB Hastings Drive Hearing (January, 2018). During this OMB Hearing Bradley oddly contradicted a 2017 interview they had with Cottage Life regarding how much they loved purchasing their dream cottage "scary designation and all", by stating to the Tribunal only 6 months later and while under oath, "that if he had known in 2011 what he knew now, he would not have purchased the property". Bradley also singled out our long-standing Corke family property (and many other long-standing pre-1985 Hastings owners) with unsolicited pictures he took, in an attempt to rid us of all legally established uses.
Evidence of Bradley's property requiring much needed shoreline maintenance/fortifying was presented by him to the OMB Hearing, which stated in paragraph 72 of the ruling, "an article from the Weather Network dated as of November 12, 2015 where Mr. Bradley’s cottage is noted as barely hanging on; waves are getting bigger, winds gusting to near hurricane strength”. As a result of Mr. Bradley's in-depth awareness of these weather impacts on Hastings Drive and him directly aware that his property was long over due for shoreline protection maintenance, I had a greater expectation in the years following the damage to his cottage, to see his property shored up with a steel sea-wall (as other Long Point owners had done over recent years, including fellow LPRA Board member John Henderson), along with maybe a rock boulder jetty outward on the westerly side and the cottage permanently lifted 10 feet high on steel helical piles out of harms way (similar to my dock), shortly following the temporary lifts being quickly installed. Yet, this never happened.
Bradley's long-standing direct neighbour Brian Banush's step-son Ben Fenlon had submitted an offer on this cottage on behalf of his brother (just prior to the current owners Bradley/Poole purchasing it in 2011). Fenlon backed out of the deal after doing a home inspection on the property. Garth Turner was the owner of this cottage at the time.
Mr. Bradley who is a Board member of the Long Point Ratepayers' Association, which purpose is to promote the general interest and welfare of the Long Point Community as a whole, surprisingly was also a strong advocate for no development and limited use on Hastings Drive as shown in his statements to Senior Planners, Bylaw Appeals and Newspaper interviews over the past years. Bradley's beliefs and advocacy for not altering or destroying the Fowler's Toad (species at risk) habitat apparently could not be compromised, even when it came to maintaining/saving his own investment.
There has been many social media photos over the years documenting the neglectful collapsing state of Bradley's cottage and it's final removal. As a result of these publicized photos and Hastings Drive's constant media attention, I was very surprised to see no mention of this cottage's struggling state ever by the local media agencies and/or the Long Point Rate Payers' Association, which these owners were active members of.
This cottage did gain media attention a few years ago within a Cottage Life article titled, "How To Make the Most Out of Your Money". Cottage Life - June 12, 2017: Hazard land. It’s the kind of designation that scares off many buyers—and some mortgagers and insurers. But when Sarah Poole and her husband, Chris Bradley, found their dream cottage on Long Point on Lake Erie, they knew they wanted it, scary designation and all.
Like many cottage buyers, Poole and Bradley weren’t exactly cottage hunting when they found it. They were reality-checking the price on a relative’s cottage property that they were considering buying, looking at comparables in the area. A day in the car confirmed their hunch: The property had been overvalued. As they reached the end of the road on Long Point, they started to turn around—and noticed a For Sale sign. It was in front of an 800 sq. ft. three-bedroom cottage built on stilts close to the water, on property labelled “hazard land” by the province. “Basically, it’s at increased risk for damage by the natural elements,” says Poole. That risk isn’t hypothetical: There were once about 100 cottages along this strip, but because of a ferocious storm in the 1980s, there are now only about 40. “You can’t get traditional financing for it. You can never make it bigger,” says Poole. “So we knew we’d better love it.”
There has been a large divide in recent years on Hastings Drive, where a select few self-proclaimed "wardens" have tried to rid their neighbours both long-standing and newer from reasonably enjoying their properties as they have been for many decades. As a result of their persistent advocacy for creating very restrictive policies, this new set of draconian rules were applied to all lots on Hastings Drive including the "wardens" property on April 16, 2018, and hindering all of our future private property rights in the end.
Unfortunately for Mr. Bradley this new set of rules which he was a vocal advocate for, came into effect 12 days after his cottage was considered inhabitable by emergency services, which makes it much more difficult to ever rebuild due to the cottage use being non-existent on the day of passing of the new bylaw. Yet, as Ms. Boyce, another Hastings "warden", stated to Bradley "get a trailer for temporary residence while you rebuild". All, I can do is shake my head at these contradicting illusions, where these "wardens" think their circle are all automatically exempt from these new policies which they created.
A strong united voice from the beginning, defending private property rights as a whole, I could only think may have assisted the Bradley family, since you can't have your cake and eat it too. A very sad result, that hinders the entire Long Point community and hopefully never repeats.
*Edit Addition: CBC's The National on November 28th, 2019 aired a video regarding all-time record high water for Lake Erie, with a section highlighting this Hastings Drive cottage. Chris Bradley said he had no choice but to leave his cottage and likened it to the death of a dream CBC PDF Article
*Edit 2 Addition: Simcoe Reformer Article on November 28, 2019 - This cottage at the west end of Hastings Drive in Long Point took a pounding this year during a number of high-wind events. A report Thursday says chronic flooding in Ontario this year is related to weather factors, beginning with last year’s prolonged winter and continuing with this year’s wet spring.
Social Media Photos:
Video of Hastings Cottage Damage April 16 2018: