As an outcome of the Ontario Provincial election OTC has been working with the Capital Hill Group to draft a professional position paper about the OTC, what is can offer, and the role it would like to play in the future of trails with the Ontario Government.
Most recently, we have committed $3.56 million to the Pan/Parapan American Trails as part of our legacy strategy for the Pan/Parapan American Games. This investment will include completing 254 kilometers of trail gaps along the Trans Canada Trail in Ontario.
In addition to these new investments, the Wynne government will continue to support the Ontario Sport and Recreation Communities Fund and the Tourism Development Fund. These programs, together with grants from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, will continue to provide direct financial support for trails."
ACTIVE LIVING - Ontario Liberals recognize that participating in sport and recreation is vital to the health and well-being of all Ontarians, and that our trails play a key role. That is one of many reasons why we are committed to continuing and strengthening our support for trails by:
- Establishing a stand-alone Trails Act, with complementary legislative amendments. The proposed Act would:
- imbed the Ontario trails strategy in legislation;
- proclaim a trails week;
- allow eligible entities to hold trail easements;
- allow for the recognition of trails of distinction and establishment of a classification system;
- amend as necessary other legislation as necessary to deal with trespassing, occupier liability, fines and public lands issues; and
- provide the Minister responsible with the authority to establish targets.
The Wynne government will develop a trails tourism promotion plan highlighting specific regions and signature trails, and develop a research plan to better inform the decision-making process as it relates to trail development, management, promotion, and capacity.
The Wynne government will continue to work with the Ontario Trails Council in delivering a renewed Trails Strategy and associated Trails Act.
PROVINCIAL MATCHING FUNDING - Ontario Liberals see our Trails Strategy as being the best window through which we can plan and organize our trail infrastructure spending. We are not able to dedicate funds for trail infrastructure at this time. But we are committed to continued funding to key funds that support trail build out, including the Ontario Sport and Recreation Communities Fund, the Tourism Development Fund, and the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
Additionally, the Wynne government’s Plan for Ontario identifies our intent to designate and build 135 km of paved shoulders on provincial roads and highways over the next three years.
TRAIL JOBS - The Wynne government is absolutely committed to working closely with the OTC and other stakeholders to maximize trails promotions: developing a trails tourism promotion plan for specific regions and signature trails, and developing a research plan to better inform the decision-making process on trail development, management, promotion, and capacity.
Our proposed Trails Act will also assist with trails expansion, by making it less burdensome for landowners to contribute to trail expansions.
This could include accessing the Tourism Development and Ontario Sport and Recreation Funds noted above, in addition to more effective coordination with and between Regional Tourism Organizations, the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation, and municipalities.
PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT - As noted above, Ontario Liberals are committed to working closely with the Ontario Trails Council, and other stakeholders to maximize trails promotion. This would also apply to product development, and could include accessing the Tourism Development and Ontario Sport and Recreation Funds, in addition to more effective coordination with and between RTOs, the Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation and municipalities. The proposed Trails Act could also play a key role. *Note: this response is somewhat repetitive, as per above response*
WORLD CLASS EVENTS - Yes, Ontario Liberals believe there are significant opportunities to promote trails, trail events, and innovative partnerships.