The long-standing Rondeau Provincial Park cottage issue could be resolved sooner than later.
At least that's the hope of Chatham-Kent councillor Michael Bondy following a private meeting Tuesday with newly-appointed Ontario Natural Resources Minister David Orazietti.
"The minister was very positive about settling the matter soon,'' Bondy told The Chatham Daily News in a telephone interview from Toronto.
The councillor is in Toronto attending the annual meeting of the Ontario Good Roads Association and Ontario Municipal Association.
According to Bondy, Orazietti, who was only appointed to the cabinet position three weeks ago, sees the need to resolve the cottage issue shortly.
Bondy said the minister has offered to meet with him and Chatham-Kent Essex MPP Rick Nicholls following March Break and after his staff has researched Bondy's idea of transferring the land in the park on which the cottages sit to the municipality.
"It would provide cottage owners with a deed to their property and provide the municipality with additional property tax dollars,'' he said.
Bondy said he tied the cottage issue to the vegetation problem in Rondeau Bay, which was the original purpose for the meeting.
"Again, there was a positive tone,'' he said.
Bondy said he first brought up the cottage issue at Rondeau Park during a large forum Monday following a speech by Orazietti to delegates.
Bondy was also planning to corner Glen Murray, Ontario Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation following his speech to delegates later today.
The councillor and the Chatham-Kent delegation, which includes senior administrative staff, want the province to support infrastructure funding under the connecting link agreement, separate from the Municipal Infrastructure Investment Initiative (MIII) program and maintain the current funding levels of the connecting link agreement now in place.
The MIII program allows for only one project submission and funding is capped at $2 million. By contrast, the connecting link programs provide 75% and 90% of eligible expenditures for road rehabilitation projects.