Tax increase on shoreline allowance

Before we get to the specifics of the shore road allowance money grab as it affects taxes, let’s review a little history, shall we? Back when early settlers were claiming their little piece of heaven in the Canadian wilderness, the Crown kept its mitts on a 66-foot ribbon of shoreline around many lakes and rivers. It did this so that travellers on the waterways could stop and set up camp without asking permission of private landowners, and so that, later, roads could be built along the shores if needed.

When waterways stopped being the main travel routes, the shore road allowances government holdback amounted to just so much legalese on property deeds, which stated waterfront property owners had title to their land “excepting a strip of land one chain in perpendicular width along the shore.” That is, until Ontario figured out it might get brownie points by giving the land to municipalities, who could then sell this shoreline to the people who had been blithely enjoying it for years.

Now you can apply to buy your shore road allowance from your local municipality for a fee, along with legal and survey costs. The process can take up to a year and easily set you back a few thousand.

Owning the shore road allowance may increase the assessed value of your property since you will own a larger area (and maybe even more frontage, if you have a wedge-shaped lot).

To find out how owning it would affect assessments in your area, check with your municipality or a local realtor. Assessments seldom go up much with the addition of a shore road allowance, unless a lot of frontage is added; however, while local MPAC staff can give a rough estimate of how adding the shore road allowance might affect a particular assessment, they will need the new survey to give an accurate figure.


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