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Monday, April 11, 2016
Ontario Trails News - Bill 100 moving ahead with landowners, only easements are easements, easements don't trump other access ways.
Ottawa Valley Business News Talks Trails
From the Manitoulin Expositor - April 5
ONTARIO—Patrick Connor, executive director of the Ontario Trails Council, is sick and tired of the fear mongering tactics of the Ontario Landowners’ Association (OLA) when it comes to Bill 100, the Supporting Ontario Trails Act, 2015 and the havoc it’s wreaking on trails of all kinds across the province.
Mr. Connor said that despite Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport Michael Coteau releasing statements to try and quell the fears of landowners on what this bill actually means (including to this newspaper) and even OLA founder Randy Hillier coming forward to state that Bill 100 is not what it’s being made out to be, “the OLA is not listening to what anyone in a position of authority is saying.”
“While there might be some concerns, people just don’t understand the legal wording,” he added. Mr. Connor pointed to last week’s article in The Expositor (‘Bill 100 interpretation sees closure of two main snowmobile trails ahead of next season,’ Page 1) as a case in point. In the story, it states that one Sandfield landowner has pulled his land from the Manitoulin Snowdusters snowmobile trial system due to wording in Bill 100 over ‘special trails.’ “They are not special trails, they are trails of distinction,” Mr. Connor explained. “They are special, but not in the fact that the minister is going to take someone’s property away from them.” He explained that trails of distinction are ones of some note, such as the Georgian Bay Coastal Trail.
Mr. Connor called the OLA’s tactics in spreading falsities with the bill “irresponsible.”
“Who does this benefit?” he asked of the shutting down of trails. “Small businesses will surely suffer. The closure of a snowmobile trail does a lot of damage to a local economy.”
“There is no reason to close a trail because of this Act,” the executive director continued.
Like the Manitoulin Snowdusters have said previously, the Ontario Trails Council also plans to work with landowners over the summer to try and reverse the damage that has been done by the OLA.
“Forty years of good relations or more is being lost because of fear mongering,” he added. “We have always worked hard to work with the landowners.”
“We hope that by the fall we might have some of this cleared up, Mr. Connor said. “What might be a ‘no’ today might not be a ‘no’ tomorrow.”