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Friday, February 19, 2016

Ontario Trails News - Ontario Trails goes to House to support Bill 100 - Support the Ontario Trails Act

Ontario Trails Council goes to House in Support of Bill 100

On the main foyer stairs at Queen's Park Thursday May 18, 2016 encouraging the government to Pass Bill 100, the "Supporting Ontario's Trails Act." Thanks to the Minister and to the staff of the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport for the opportunity.
Minister Coteau and MPP Kiwala spoke in the house for an hour detailing the Bill, thereby tabling it as Second Reading.  The loyal opposition opposes the Bill. Basically citing that the Bill is closing trail. What is closing trail is the misinterpretation of the easement section.

The OTC has had many phone calls with affected groups, the Ontario Landowners Association Executive, the Bruce Trail, Conservation groups, Ontario Federation of All Terrain Vehicle Clubs (7 trails closed - 6 recovered!) the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs, Muskoka Trails Council, Bracebridge, Guelph, OMAFRA, Ontario Rural Institute and Nova Scotia - because they have a trails Act.

Through it all we have tried to understand the reason the trails were pulled. There is a belief that easements, because they were the only form of land securement mentioned, would be the only method thereby overriding or superseding other types of agreements that landowners like to use. Handshake, severances, other conveyances, seemingly would be lost.

We have assurances that they would not. But with the work of the OTC, the Executive, Brian Knechtel from Ontario Federation of Trail Riders, Robert Orland of Orland Conservation, Antoin Diamond of Bruce Trail, Tom Black of Ontario Landowners Association and others we are crafting a new way forward.

We want a more secure trail system with landowners into the future, with a Bill 100 that supports these relationships we value and appreciate. We are crafting an MPP information kit on the Bill, and a landowners information package to help our members reach out and work with landowners.

The OTC has been in direct contact with the Minister's office 3 times on the matter, ADM Harlow, on occasion, and is discussing the legislation further with MTCS staffs today.

The OTC Board, with selected guests will be holding an information meeting with the Board on this Issue March 2 at 1000. As we prepare briefs for committee we will be working with groups to support their submission, and several groups agreed to this in the House gallery, we appreciate the support of Conservation Ontario, Trans Canada Trail and our Board in this regard.

Queens Park Second Reading Bill 100

Front Row - Minister Coteau, Ministry of Tourism Culture and Sport; Jack De Wit OTC President; Sophie Kiwala MPP Kingston and the Islands, and Patrick Connor Ontario Trails.
Middle - Larry Ketcheson PRO; Paul Ronan Ontario Parks Association (OTC Board Member), Richard Wyman, Conservation Ontario and Essex Region Conservation Authority (Both Ontario Trails Council Members)
Back row - Bill Allen PRO, Jessica Maga, Trans Canada Trail; Mike Clewer Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OTC Board Member); Peter Curtis, Pathway Group