On May 26, 1993, the trial of the lawsuit brought by the Attorney General of Ontario (AG) against landowners at Rowntree Beach (RBA) began before Mr. Justice Flinn of the Ontario Court of Justice (General Division).
In the summer of 1991, the court ordered the AG to send notices to those whose title could be affected by the Court’s findings in AG v. RBA. In August, 1991, some 2000 notices were mailed.
On the opening day of trial, the following lawyers appeared and stated that they supported the Rowntree position: (1) Gary French, on behalf of the Deanlea Beach Association; (2) Richard Shibley, Q.C., on behalf of his wife and neighbours at Cove Beach; and also on behalf of his clients, the individual property owners at Nottawaga Beach; (3) Thomas Ouchterlony, on behalf of the property owners in the Carusoe Bay Beach Association; (4) William Pashby, on behalf of the property owners at Wymbolwood Beach; (5) Nicholas Leblovic, on behalf of his wife and neighbours at Balm Beach; and (6) Andrew Diamond, on behalf of the property owners at Georgian Sands.
During 20 days of trial, the lawyer for the AG called five witnesses – 3 surveyors engaged in private practice, a Deputy Registrar of Deeds and a document examiner. The AG’s lawyer did not call any witnesses from the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR), although MNR initiated the lawsuit. The AG’s main survey witnesses testified that they believed the “line of the wood” goes around the entire Township of Tiny, from Concession 1 to Penetanguishene, even though the AG’s formal claim before the court alleged that the ‘line of the wood’ ran from Conc. 3 to Con. 18. The lawyer for Rowntree Beach, Jeff G. Cowan of the Toronto law firm of Weir & Foulds, called 15 witnesses – a professor of surveying science and all 14 defendant cottage owners.
The defendants were conscious of the implications of the lawsuit for the whole shore as well as defending their own properties. The defendants’ defence was also a defence of private ownership of the entire shoreline.
The trial ended on July 14, 1993, after 20 days of trial. The trial judge reserved judgment and will prepare and release written reasons setting out his decision. The trial judge said it would take him some time to sift through 17 days of evidence, the large number of exhibits and 3 days of legal arguments by the lawyers. There was no indication as to when the judge’s decision will be released.
AG v. RBA When you hear that the judgment has been released, you may call the Federation of Tiny Township Shoreline Associations (F.O.T.T.S.A) and arrange to have a copy of the reasons for judgment mailed to you.
There will be a charge to cover the cost of xeroxing and mailing. The cost is not presently known.
You can leave a message on the F.O.T.T.S.A. answering machine at (416) 422-4067 and someone will get back to you.