At the November meeting, Council tabled a decision on re-installing the fence posts at the Paziuk subdivision for an opinion on the County's insurance liability if a gate is installed and a legal opinion about entering into an agreement with residents. This is the legal opinion we received:
There are two problems with gating the reserve property.
The reserve is public property, and while the County could fence it if there was a safety issue, keeping all the public off the land, it is questionable whether the county has the authority to gate the reserve if that would result in precluding access to members of the public, except for the small number of the public who have a key for access. If the gate precludes access except for those who have keys, putting posts up so that motorized access is not possible, as you have previously done, would likely be acceptable as the public could still get access by foot.
If the County can rearrange the posts so that a golf cart, but not a vehicle, can pass through, that would accommodate the disabled access.
The other issue is liability. This concern would arise if the County did put up the gate to prevent any access except those who have keys, or if the posts create a situation of danger to a user who is not familiar with the area.
The County has exposure to occupiers liability by reason of owing the reserve. If a gate is placed across what would commonly be seen as an access to the lake, it would have to be well signed to provide notice to potential users of the poles/gate, and attempt to minimize the potential for someone being injured from an unexpected obstacle.