The owners of the Fisherman’s Lodge Pub in Oyster River plan on proposing that the Strathcona Regional District buy their property.
After posting on their Facebook page that $10 licenses to use their outdoor property would be required, they received so much hate and negative comments that they are proposing the regional district give the people what they want and purchase their property to add to the surrounding parkland.
“They want that access, they want to get to the river, they want to pollute there, they want to park on our property they want to interfere with our business then let the Strathcona Regional District buy it for them, to make it public property,” said Olga Anthony, owner.
In the original post, which has now been deleted from their Facebook page, Roman Anthony, owner, said “Please note to boaters and river users that an Access Permit is required for boat pick up and drop off.
“All fishermen need to ask for permission to fish on private property. All river users for dog walking and river use need a permit. Permits can be obtained from the pub. No recreational use is allowed without permit. All violators will be charged with trespassing. Permits are $10 per person per day.”
Since the post on Jan. 27, the Anthonys said the post reached 80,000 people and all of the comments were negative. They said there were even death threats.
“Because we have been so harassed and bullied by Facebookers, we want people to know that we had such a stressful time looking at this that we made a proposal that the Strathcona Regional District to buy it for the public, from us, so they have access to the river and the government has to deal with it,” Olga said.
The couple came in to the Mirror office on Wednesday afternoon. They explained that they purchased the property in October and have been renovating and cleaning up the business since, often working 12-14 hour days.
“We had good intentions to fix the pub for the people, for the neighbourhood,” Olga said.
As it turns out, their parking lot is regularly used by the public to access the river and the local trail system.
Because of the high traffic, the Anthonys are concerned about liability, the environment and patrons of the pub have complained about lack of parking.
“We, as a business, can’t afford to carry this liability and this cost, and the clean up, and their interference with our business, indefinitely,” Olga said.
In an attempt to curtail the garbage clean-up and keep vehicles from accessing the river from their property, the Anthonys first attempted putting up signs. When that didn’t work they decided to try charging people to use or access their property to help cover costs as well as include all visitors under their liability insurance.
“Nobody controls this access, and nobody limits access, and it is through our parking lot,” Olga said.
But the backlash from the public took the Anthonys by surprise and they are both shocked and angry.
“We are so sick and tired of this outrage and absolute insanity,” Olga said.
The Anthonys said they plan on working with a real estate agent to propose a sale to the Strathcona Regional District.