HCSA hits speed bump over proposed trails
|By Lisa Gervais - Editor | Nov. 29, 2018|
A packed council chambers voiced its displeasure with the proposed creation of more than seven kilometres of snowmobile trails on original township road allowances during a Minden Hills council meeting Nov. 22.
However, the Haliburton County Snowmobile Association (HCSA), which is applying to build the trails, told The Highlander in an interview that it could address the concerns that were raised.
Town planner Ian Clendening said the HCSA has applied to build four trails totalling 7.1 km. They include .4 km between Fleming and Scotch Line roads; four kilometres between Scotch Line and Plantation roads; 2.3 km between Plantation and Twelve Mile Lake roads and .4 km between the Hydro Corridor and Kendrick Creek Lane.
Staff were recommending the HCSA get the go-ahead, including waiving of some costs. However, 10 members of the public spoke against the application during a public meeting.
One man, who lives on 12 Mile Lake Road, said his property backs on to one of the proposed trails. “I’ve had incursions already,” he said of ATVs and snowmobiles coming onto his private property. “My problem is security.” He asked if there would be curfews on the trails.
Another man said his property will by kitty corner to one of the trails and while he is “hugely enthusiastic,” he wants some assurances. For example, he wants to continue to be able to walk and hike the road. He’s worried about the amount of vehicle and snowmobile traffic and added there must be stop or yield signs wherever a trail intersects with a ploughed road.
In addition to trespassing and safety concerns, people expressed fears about exposure to liability, damage, theft and vandalism. They’re also worried about lights from snow machines and groomers and noise. They also raised environmental objections.
HCSA president Dave Lloyd said directors attended the meeting, although they did not speak. He stressed the longer sections of trails are years away from happening.
“We were just trying to get a feel for what everybody wants,” he told The Highlander. “Does Minden Hills want snowmobiling in their community? Do the landowners, stakeholders, and business owners want it? If they say ‘yes,’ here are our proposals … If they say ‘no’ there’s no sense going further.”
Lloyd added that “all of these concerns can be easily addressed.” He he said they can’t do anything without MNRF approval; 99.9 per cent of snowmobiles today are “very, very quiet” and property owners who have trails going through their large properties get an additional $15m in added insurance under the federation’s policy.
During the public meeting, Coun. Jean Neville said she’d heard merit in the concerns and could not support the application. Coun. Pam Sayne wished the trails and tours association could be reinstated. “I have to say to the snowmobile association, you have a lot of homework to do before you go ahead with this.”
Following the public meeting, council approved the first trail. The other three have been deferred to a public council meeting upon receipt of further information from the HCSA, addressing members of the public’s comments and concerns.
HCSA spokesman John Enright said, “we don’t see it as a setback. This is an opportunity.”
LISA GERVAIS is the editor for The Highlander.