A land dispute is brewing over a small portion of Hibou Conservation Area.
A private party has registered a title interest in a waterfront portion of the conservation area adjacent to Grey Road 15, about 0.6 of an acre.
The Grey Sauble Conservation Authority says a "For Sale" sign was recently erected in the northeast portion of Hibou Conservation Area near Leith, raising some concerns among local groups and residents.
The sign was installed by Atlas World Real Estate Corporation on April 10. The Grey Sauble Conservation Authority says it became aware of the situation April 11, after several Facebook posts surfaced regarding the impending sale of the lands.
In a release, Grey Sauble Conservation Authority acknowledges another party registered a title interest in this portion of the Hibou property.
Hibou consists of about 329 acres of land along the shoreline of Georgian Bay. Grey Sauble Conservation Authority claims it was acquired by the former North Grey Region Conservation Authority in the early to mid 1970s, after a successful fundraising campaign.
The lands have been maintained as a public access conservation area by Grey Sauble Conservation Authority since then.
Atlas World Real Estate Corporation broker Leroy Dirckx says he is in possession of legal documents that suggest there is a dispute as to who is the rightful owner of title. He claims the evidence he has dates back prior to 1973, before the time he was advised North Grey Region Conservation Authority is thought to have acquired the property.
"I do represent a client who believes it is theirs," Dirckx says.
Dirckx declined to identify his client due to privacy reasons.
The realtor acknowledges a "For Sale" sign has been removed "for now" and the listing suspended until the title matter is resolved.
The Grey Sauble Conservation Authority calls it a "misunderstanding" it is working to rectify as quickly as possible.
"I would like to assure everyone that the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority is not selling, and has never sold, any portions of Hibou," says the organization's CAO Tim Lanthier. "Hibou is a very special place for the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority and for the community. This is one of our flagship properties and we have been actively developing plans with community partners to invest in and improve Hibou over the next few years."
The Conservation Authority says it will continue to work with its solicitor to rectify the situation by whatever means necessary.
The matter is currently in litigation.