It’s about being a good neighbour.
Residents of the Hamlet of Sherkston feel they are upholding their end of the bargain.
A recent change means that residents of the hamlet no longer have car access to the beach at Sherkston Shores.
Instead, residents of the hamlet are told they must access the beach on foot.
Sherkston Shores did not respond to requests for comment.
Sherkston Shores Resort is owned by Sun Communities, a Michigan-based mobile home and RV company.
John Nicholson and his wife, Nancy, have lived in the hamlet for 15 years.
“You can imagine if I’m going to take my grandkids and lawn chairs and stuff to the beach from here, it’s quite a hike.
Nicholson called the move “nasty.”
Some of the challenges residents face living near the resort, he said, include heavy traffic.
“We put up with the noise at night even though it’s supposed to stop at 11 p.m.,” Nicholson said.
The park has doubled in size, he said, so they put up with even more “traffic and noise and all that.”
Their property values also fell, he said.
Residents say they were not notified of the change.
Cheryl Cox lives on Empire Road.
“I can’t walk my dog on the road. I drive my car with the dog to the community to walk my dogs on the friendship trail, it’s so scary here.
“I can’t even get a license plate, they drive so fast,” Cox said.
She said she didn’t complain because of the deal.
Cox said the situation left her “feeling bitter”.
“They’re taking away the only concession we’ve ever been given,” he said.
Nicholson said they would arrange for the grandkids to go to the beach during the off season. They say they avoided the beach on weekends because of the crowds
To clarify their position, some residents plan to stage a protest along Empire Road.
District Council Barbara Butters said it was a sentiment she had heard from many different residents. She attended a meeting with over 60 people who shared their concerns.
Butters said that many years ago Robert Seaton was in charge of Sherkston Shores, and he sat down with the residents and on a handshake made certain promises because he recognized that he didn’t was not easy to live next to the park even then.
She said the station had “grown exponentially”.
In 2021 Pleasant Beach was purchased by Sherkston Shores.
“Having access to the beach was the right thing to recognize the inconveniences endured by full-time residents of the hamlet,” Butters said.
Butters said what management was doing “just denies access.”
“If you are elderly or unable to walk long distances, your access is denied. If you are disabled and cannot enter, your access is effectively denied. Or if you are a parent with a young child.
“It’s a slap in the face for the residents,” Butters said. “For more than 30 years, it’s been a give-and-take relationship.”
Residents say they are willing to work with the station if it needs them to sign up. They want things to go back to the way they have been for years.
Scott Luey, Port Colborne’s chief executive, said the 2018 agreement the town signed with parent company Sherkston reads in part: “Sun has agreed to transfer to the town and its guests an easement non-exclusive in perpetuity for the purpose of permitting access, entry, exit and passage of pedestrians over…”
The city is currently seeking a legal opinion, which will take place before the council’s closed session in June, Luey said.
STORY BEHIND THE STORY: After residents of the hamlet of Sherkston appealed to Port Colborne City Council for help, journalist Nick Fearns spoke to residents to find out more about the current issue which has inspired a residents’ protest.