Insurance liability concerns close off boat launch to the public

“These launches have been used (by the public) forever … and this is the only access to the lake for a lot of people,” Lindsy Sauve, whose family has been using the launches for years, told

Sauve and other residents of the area have assumed for years that the strip of land where the launches were located was Crown property. But it turns out that the South Lane Road land is part of a larger property on the opposite side of the road, which makes it private property.

One of the owners of the property, John Sauve (no relation to Lindsy Sauve), explained that he also thought the launches were separate from his property until a detailed survey revealed otherwise.

“Our entire winter has been dedicated to trying to make sure that there won’t be a problem with that because we didn’t even know, first of all, that it was on our property – and even then we didn’t even have a clue that it was going to be such a headache,” he said.

John added that after his insurance company learned that the strip of land where the launches are was being used for a public boat launch, the insurer refused to provide coverage. The insurer reasoned that it was because of potential lawsuits that could arise should someone get injured while using the launches, or if there was property damage that led to an insurance claim. reported that after a long search, John was finally able to find an insurer who could offer coverage – with the caveat that John set up a non-profit association that restricted access to the launches, limiting potential liability. John would also have to put up a gate and offer a key only to members of the non-profit.

On top of restricting access, John said that a fee will be charged for members, to cover insurance costs and for maintaining the area. He offered assurances that the fee would be no more than what is necessary.

Pete Karageorgos, Insurance Bureau of Canada[1] Ontario director of consumer and industry relations, explained that property owners could get sued for any reason, and that closing off the launches to all but a select few is a smart move.

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