The Fish River Lakes Chain is home to four lakes in the St. John Valley where people lease homes and seasonal camps. But now the company that leases the land in that region is proposing to put the camp lots up for sale and discontinue leasing.
Cheryl and Kirk St. Peter have lived in their home on Cross Lake year-round for the past 9 years. It’s just one of 400 lots that company J.D. Irving leases to home owners and seasonal camps on the Fish River Lakes Chain.
Mr. And Mrs. St. Peter, President and Secretary of the Fish Rivers Lakes Leaseholder Association say, “It’s become more and more prevalent that people have moved here and live here, the other huge portion of it is people that spend the summer here or spend a considerable amount of time here.”
Cross Lake is one of the lakes that makes up the Fish Rivers Lakes Chain; the others are Long Lake, Mud Lake, and Square Lake and they’re all within 15 miles of each other. Some of the leases along these lakes have been there for over 30 years, but Irving has expressed a concept plan that involves leaving the land-leasing business, and selling the lots to the lease holders along the lakes.
Mr. And Mrs. St. Peter, President and Secretary of the Fish Rivers Lakes Leaseholder Association say, “We know that there’s a lot of people that are retired that have had their leases now or their camps on these lakes for many many years, they’re on fixed incomes. That’s our big concern, is these people that can’t afford or that don’t want to buy how are they going to be treated by Irving, they haven’t come up with a scenario yet.”
News Source 8 reached out to Anthony Hourihan, Irving’s Director of Land Development and he said, ” The company does not intend to force people to purchase property or force them out of it and we plan to work with the lease holders and the association. Irving is also looking to explore the potential options for lease holders to purchase the property over the longer term.”
Mr. And Mrs. St. Peter, President and Secretary of the Fish Rivers Lakes Leaseholder Association say, “Irving usually does things right, and for them to even propose this concept plan it will more than likely go through LUPC because they do a lot of preperatory work and and they’re not going to waste their time on something that they think isn’t going to get approved.”
J.D. Irving is presenting it’s proposal to the Land Use Planning Commission at some point this fall and is looking to get an answer by next Spring as to whether or not the company can go through with the concept plan to sell leased lots in the Fish River Lakes Region.
The company’s plan to sell the leased lots is just one piece of a larger 25-year concept plan that will also include conservation, recreational access, and future development in the region. The plan will need to be approved by regulatory agencies first, before it is officially initiated.