COVID-19 updates
Ask Nereda First
COVID-19 Business Info


Eugenia campground loses AMO appeal

Eugenia campground loses AMO appeal

Photo: Hawthorn's Cottages and Campground



In a recent decision of the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT), an appeal by Brian and Jayne LeGree of Hawthorn's Cottages and Campground to overturn the refusal of Grey Highlands Council to issue an operational permit for their 13-site campground was dismissed.

The decision was handed down October 1 following years of legal wrangling, public debate and friction between the LeGrees and many of their neighbours. The ruling came on the grounds that the operation of the campground is not a permitted use in the Inland Lakes and Shoreline (ILS) designation and thus, the Zoning By-Law Amendment (ZBA) does not conform with the Grey Highlands Official Plan (HOP).

The Lake Eugenia Property Owners Association (LEPOA) made an appearance at the hearing, represented by counsel to argue against the campground. That appearance was made possible by LEPOA crowd-sourced funds raised to fight the appeal. Planners Jamie Robinson, retained by the municipality, and Gordon Russell, retained by the LEPOA, both testified against the application. Ron Davidson was retained by the LeGrees and testified in support of it.

Because municipal zoning must conform with Grey County's Official Plan (COP), Davidson argued that the provision for a campground exists as described as "resource based recreational use" but was omitted from the HOP due to an oversight. Robinson argued that local municipalities may often be more restrictive in their documents than the County, so the municipal plan did not conflict with its upper-tier counterpart.

In the end, the LPAT agreed with Robinson and Russell and dismissed the appeal. The LeGree's are now forced to shut down operation of the campground but retain operation of their remaining business including seven cottages not affected by this ruling.

In recent Grey Highlands all-candidates meetings, the need for more accommodations in the municipality seems to get unanimous support among those contesting for a seat on Council. Many of the candidates have also campaigned for a variety of housing types to be considered in a pending municipal by-law update and have also advocated for a new campground by-law to allow for such recreational uses. Only time will tell if Councillors follow through on this issue.


At South Grey News, we endeavour to bring you truthful up-to-date local community news in a quick and easy-to-digest format that’s free of political bias. We believe this service is more important today than ever before, as social media has given rise to misinformation, largely unchecked by big corporations who put profits ahead of their responsibilities.

South Grey News does not have the resources of a big corporation. We are a small, locally owned-and-operated organization. Research, analysis and physical attendance at public meetings and community events requires considerable effort. But contributions from readers and advertisers, however big or small, go a long way to helping us deliver positive, open and honest journalism for this community.

Please consider supporting South Grey News with a modest donation and let us know that our efforts are appreciated. Thank you.

Subscribe for FREE to get the latest local news delivered to your email box.


South Grey News Comment Policy: 

Comments must be appropriate, respectful and related to the article. 

We reserve the right to edit, delete or not post any comment that we deem to be unsuitable. 

Updated March 12, 2020.

Your comments

Jayne LeGree commented on 03-Oct-2018 02:26 PM3 out of 5 stars
News travels fast in a small town!
Good bye Hawthorn Camping
We would like to Thank everyone for the support and love we have received over the last few years
Unfortunately, as you all have read - we have been dismissed! Shut down
On Monday October 8th 2018 will be Hawthorn Camping last day - Hawthorn has made many memories since the 1940's and from what we have learned from people that have stayed here - the memories are beautiful - the Municipality of Grey Highlands, my 2 neighbors and the Lake Eugenia Association - has the power to shut us down - but they don't have the power to take the memories that have been made at Hawthorn Campground - The Municipality has spent thousands of tax payers money on a Tourism and Development study and mentioned Hawthorn Camp ground as an asset ??
Tourist have no where to stay here and this makes it hard for local business - by not passing Hawthorn's application to permit Camping on Lake Eugenia - local business will feel the pinch
We have 7 cabins for rent so please pass this on - only our camp ground has been shut down
Thank you again for everyone's support!
Brian & Jayne LeGree
Proud owners of the Late:
Hawthorn Cottages & Camping of Lake Eugenia
Sue Martin commented on 03-Oct-2018 03:18 PM3 out of 5 stars
Since the 40s is that not Grandfathered in someway? Strange someone changing it.
Edyth Cartwright commented on 03-Oct-2018 03:35 PM3 out of 5 stars
Now that you on on a roll getting rid of place for ppl to stay in Eugenia.. i mean really.. i would like to see the rat infested trailers all be removed. There is one on Sutter street. One on st Arnaud. Oh yes and a few more on the lower st. Arnaud on vacant lots being used for camping. You cant shut down one and not the other. Im sure when we all get together we will find more and be calling you everyday to make sure these damands are met. Welcome to Eugenia.. where not everyone is welcome.
Mel Lacelle commented on 03-Oct-2018 04:14 PM3 out of 5 stars
This is absolute ********!!!!!!! Thousands of people have enjoyed the camping there. The tourism and revenue Hawthorns has brought into that community speaks for itself!! The Lake Eugenia Association will see in no time the loss in revenue Hawthorns has brought in, once their pockets are no longer being lined. It blows my mind that the association would want to destroy such a beloved place for thousands of visitors, couples, families and children who had adored the camping!!!
Anon commented on 03-Oct-2018 04:46 PM5 out of 5 stars
I think there were better ways to address this matter. We should be, as a community, coming together to help promote tourism in the area..instead we are kicking out people that are providing places to stay in the area which is heavily lacking in places for tourist to stay?...shouldn't we have just said, you have to comply by these rules and helped them to get to the place where they need to be in order to run their operation properly? I feel this family was wronged by our community. I don't think it's very neighborly to just attack and take away the livelihoods of others instead of trying to work with them. Now we have a family who feels ostracized by our community, excluded, treated unfairly. Is this how we attract people to come to Eugenia/Grey County? Cruel. Unnecessary. What ever happened to love thy neighbor? The councilors and the Lake Eugenia Cottage association should be ashamed of themselves, but karma is often a bitch, so good luck with that, jerks. Oh, and I'll be voting accordingly.
Trish commented on 03-Oct-2018 06:12 PM3 out of 5 stars
Thank you everyone for your kind words and support for Hawthorns. The family was overwhelmed with support! My parents have worked very hard to make this small beautiful place for people to enjoy. It saddens the whole family that this has happened causing stresses and sleepless nights. So much money poured into the cause all to bring tourism to the city that has shut us down :(.
Don't forget there is still cabins and bunkies to rent!
Hopefully new bylaws are put into affect so all can have the chance to visit this township and enjoy it's tourism.
Concerned about the fake news commented on 03-Oct-2018 06:34 PM3 out of 5 stars
The ontario government made an informed decision on the merits of this case.
It's not simply a case of we like this place. Read the 17 page report issued by the government regarding all of issues brought to light here. Too many to list here.
At the end of the day, the proper process was followed and the legrees appealed and the appeal was denied. Perhaps the poor planning by their planner Ron Davidson should be looked at, as it led them down this road
Dave commented on 03-Oct-2018 07:13 PM3 out of 5 stars
Can someone let us know what folks running in the Grey Highlands upcoming election support Hawthorn Camping? I'd like to make sure they get my vote, rather than folks that are not open to tourism.
Tina commented on 04-Oct-2018 09:28 AM3 out of 5 stars
The cover photo is from 5 years ago & doesn't show the beloved campground!! BTW, nobody was attacked, simply asked to set up properly, like the rest of the world, there are rules to follow. Municipalities have By-laws and Official Plans for a reason. Perhaps do some research before preaching about karma & name calling.
vote results commented on 04-Oct-2018 10:08 AM3 out of 5 stars
Dave, the votes were as follows :
Against hawthorne's- Akash Desai, Lynn Silverton, Stewart Halliday & Terry Mokiry
For Hawthorne's staying - Cathy Little, Peggy Harris & Paul McQueen
Bentley Patey commented on 04-Oct-2018 11:34 PM3 out of 5 stars
I wrote a bit about this under Jayne Bates LeGrees post and the bylaw to check out if you care to check it out.
Burt commented on 05-Oct-2018 08:53 AM3 out of 5 stars
Tina you sound like there neighbour - Sherry Stedman and from what I know and seen the Municipality led these people in the direction they took - I've been in the area for more than 40 yrs and I fished with the old man that has a seasonal site for more than 20yrs there - so this is not a new development
Shelby Churchill commented on 05-Oct-2018 11:36 AM3 out of 5 stars
Yes the Legrees have spent YEARS trying to accommodate the muncipality neighbors and the lake committee. They FOLLOWED all the procedures and guidelines set up by the muncipality. As well spent THOUSANDS of dollars trying to upgrade the facility and in order to operate under the muncipalities strict rules as well as passed any testing set out by the province of Ontario and any environmental guidelines they had. They also purchased the property as a campground. Maybe people need to have the actual facts instead of listening to some of our members of council or people who are on the lake committee.
For Hawthorns commented on 05-Oct-2018 01:07 PM3 out of 5 stars
I am sadden to hear the camps and trailers site was closed down due to the decision of counsel I've been to some of the council meetings and so many of them say they support tourism and local business, but then I hear that they closed down one our small local businesses, one that was causing no problems, Ive had the opportunity to stay and camp, it's beautiful well kept and the owners are very friendly and accommodating, always promoting other small businesses. Its a loss for our community
pissed off commented on 10-Oct-2018 10:39 AM3 out of 5 stars
ignorant councillors + arrogant lake committee + self-fish neighbors = destruction of local tourism... other than B&B's...nowhere to stay now...
Owner around the lake..21 year! commented on 11-Oct-2018 04:40 PM3 out of 5 stars
Tina, Cover photo from 5 years ago! Ummm really...your really think they wrote the paper.. give your head a wack.. call the news paper and ask why such a old picture.. seems you folks in this town got nothing better to do then pick on people.
Votings coming change is needed for the Future of familys n children who will be here!
John commented on 24-Oct-2018 11:23 AM3 out of 5 stars
glad to see the councilors responsible were not voted back in, with the exception of Desai (but it was either Halliday or Desai, so there wasn't really a choice). I hope this shows how mad Eugenia is over loosing our campground, how upset we all are for the Legrees and how we won't stand for the unnecessary destruction of tourism and local business in our area...good job Eugenia, I couldn't be prouder.

The Art Map / The Food Map
Explore Grey Highlands
The Art Map
Green Pages
South Grey News Subscribe
Bernards Ad July 31
Durham RBC - Kimberly Tone
Matt Webb ad
Grey Bruce Animal Shelter
Flato - Edgewood Suites
Eugenia Community Hub question events
Shop Local
Forests Ontario
In Grey Highlands This Week
Submit your stories 2019
Eugenia History Book