Land sale shuts out family camp

Darrell Cole
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AMHERST - Chris Newman has many fond memories of spending time at his camp at Long Lake. All that's about to end, though, with the pending sale of the land on which his camp sits to the province by J.D. Irving Ltd. and Rothesay Paper Holdings Ltd.

"Partnering with J.D. Irving in this land deal has without a doubt been a privilege which I sincerely hope, as does my family and many friends who have heard of this misfortune, that I be granted an opportunity to buy or lease this small piece of property from the new owner," Newman said in a letter to the forestry company.

Newman said the existence of the camp has been a huge part of his life since his childhood and is something he has passed on to his family through a number of special occasions and outdoor activities.

The Warren resident said he was surprised to receive a personal notification from Irving in early December that he would be losing his family cottage because of the land sale.

He said he started going to the camp when he was 14 years old and became good friends with its owner, Jack Fitzgerald. The original camp had been there for years on land owned by Max Gray.

In the late 1980s there was a land-logging dispute between Gray and the company with the courts eventually deciding in Irving's favour. While a notice to vacate the land was issued, Newman managed to convince Irving to transfer Fitzgerald's lease to him.

"We always maintained a very high respect for the woodlands and the roads, being good stewards of the land, while maintaining our presence at Long Lake," Newman said, adding he has always been a responsible lease-holder.

Newman's nine-year-old daughter, Robyn, has sent a letter to the province asking to allow her dad to keep his camp.

"I hope you also know that my only wish for Christmas was for my dad to keep his camp. That wish didn't come true, but it still could," she said. "(I want to be known) as the daughter who kept her dad's dreams, and everyone else's, going."

Judging by what the province is saying at this point, it's not looking favourable. Gretchen Pohlkamp of Natural Resources said it's very unlikely that leaseholders will be given an opportunity to negotiate with the province or have their leases extended.

She said most of the areas being purchased could become part of a wilderness area, protected area or nature reserve.

Organizations: J.D. Irving Ltd., Rothesay Paper Holdings

Geographic location: Long Lake, Irving

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Recent comments

  • Unhappy camper
    February 24, 2010 - 23:46

    What will the NS Gov. do with the Camp owners that own their land in and around the purchased land? Maybe just kick them off as well? Wouldn't surprise me.

  • Gary
    February 24, 2010 - 23:46

    CONCERNED PROPERTY OWNER--Why is it that just a few bureaucats setting around a table has the right and power to jeopardize the lives and rights of so many???? There has been private land and camps on the east Amherst marsh since back in the 1940's or perhaps even earlier from the lower wood lakes right up to Big Round Lake. All the Land owners and leased sites have treated this area with great respect. These officals seem to think they can just do what they want with no respect for others. Just remember folks, it's our tax dollars that is paying their salary and also our tax dollars that pay for these land deals. It's time people that we get together and stand up for our rights. It's time for our elected politicans to get involved and express our concerns. If the DNR is purchasing this land, then so be it, but renew the leases or give them option to purchase. As for the land owners they should be free to use their properties as per the STATUS QUO. We need to get togerher and oppose any major restrictions they are about to impose on these properties.There are double standards that has taken place in other parts of the province with these land deals and there is a double standard here with Boy Scouts camp and the other lease holders. It's time for the people to voice their concern. If they keep on getting away with this. What's Next????/!!!!!

  • Deserves the right
    February 24, 2010 - 23:46

    In fact the Newman camp was built in the 50's with the permission from the land owner, 35 years before JD Irving came along and 22 years before DNR acquired the land with our tax dollars. I say the Newman camp stays like the Boy Scout camp which is also under a lease for less than fifteen years. Newman deserves the right to buy the land and stay with the other 16 camps on the lake.

  • Jack on the rocks
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Yo Don,how do ya figure they can keep the atv's and sleds of the Trans Canada Trail in which is designed for those very activities???

  • Fuzzy Bear
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Don, the article did say in the second paragraph that Mr. Newman has tried to lease or buy the land in question.
    And the comment ..Suck it up ADN readers can see you are just bubbling over with compassion. Lets see a smile and have a great day!
    PS good luck Mr Newman hope they change their minds.

  • mark
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    The fact that anyone can simply throw their two cents in about lease agreements and guarantees without possibley ever taking into consideration words like values memories and pride , goes to show don that quite possible u have never been in a similar position as mr newman and others who may possible lose there camps. Indeed its easy for you to just throw out the obvious that lease agreements are not a guarantee...but i believe in any case where leasing is the main ownership, at the end there is always a place for talks to renew it.... The boys scout camp, built well after many of these other camps, has found away to duck the axe and is going to stay put. Why does it take a nationally reconized organizational name to save a camp? Is the new owners and sellers saying personal camps arent as important as those government run? ...i think youll see some common ground met between both sides...but inless you have stepped on the shores of long lake and have saw first hand what this man may be some support and the above respect for alittle piece of heaven you know nothing about.

  • Don
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    That's why it's called a lease. There are never any guarantees on renewal no matter who owns the land. Suck it up buttercup. By the sounds of it, there will soon be no snowmobiles or ATV's allowed to roam the area like they do now anyway. Bragg's has lots of land in the Collingwood area for lease.
    Or simply buy a piece of land & never worry again.

  • TOM
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45


  • Smilin'Don
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    I feel for them as much as you do Fuzzy, but I also know there is no way these camps are going to stay if the province plans to turn the area into another protected zone. Chris won't be the first person to have to walk away from land that was never his to start with. I can name several people off the top of my head who started with a lease, but eventually either bought the land they were leasing or moved their camp to another spot where they could purchase. I say again, that's why it's called a lease. There is never any promise of ownership. My comment was just another way of saying accept what you are never going to change.
    Once the snowmobiles & ATV's are told to stay away from the area, it will be wilderness just as they want. More & more of our land seems to off limits to any enjoyment except treehugging as it is. This will be no different. IMHO