Saugeen Ojibway Nation asks judge to rule on Sauble Beach ownership
SAUBLE BEACH, Ont. - Nearly half a million people visit Sauble Beach each summer and few know about the battle brewing over who actually owns the sand they’re sitting on.
Citing an 1854 treaty, the Saugeen Ojibway Nation says they are the rightful owners of the most popular stretch of sand, stretching from the iconic Sauble sign, north to 6th Street.
The Municipality of South Bruce Peninsula says not so fast.
They believe they own this slice of lucrative Lake Huron shoreline. For 30 years, the two sides have mediated and debated the issue.
In 2014, a deal between the federal, provincial, municipal, and native band governments was reached to transfer ownership to the Saugeen Ojibway Nation. But once a new municipal council took over later that year, they nixed the deal.
Five more years of talks solved nothing. Now, the native band has taken the unique step of filing for a summary judgement.
Essentially, they’re asking a judge -- without a trial -- to decide whether they own the beach or not. That summary judgement case is to be heard in mid-February.
It could bring an end to a nearly half century land dispute.
Saugeen First Nations Chief Lester Anoquot say if they win, “Public access would not be affected. Nothing much would change, other than a new landlord.”
South Bruce Peninsula Mayor Janice Jackson says “her residents shouldn’t be punished, for something that may have happened in the mid-1800s.”