Sep 21

SNOWMOBILE CLUBS GET SOME GOOD NEWS ON BILL 100

The 49th Annual General Meeting of the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) took place this past weekend in Mississauga and members found out that there may be some light at the end of the tunnel concerning trail closures due to Bill 100.  Over the summer, Bill 100 was entered into the books as the law of the land in Ontario.  Presentations were made to the Ontario government before that happened by the Conservatives, the OFSC and the Ontario Landowners Association (OLA).  As a result of these presentations, the Liberal Government made changes to the bill to clarify the wording to make sure that landowners’ rights were protected and it was clear that any permission for trail use would be voluntary in nature.

At the OFSC AGM, the first speaker was The Honorable Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport.  During her presentation, she reviewed the highlights of Bill 100, the advantages it provided both landowners and trail groups, and the important message that landowners rights would not be affected by this bill.

The second speaker was Steve Clark, MPP Leeds-Grenville, Deputy Leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, and Critic for Tourism, Culture and Sport.  He reviewed his party’s position on Bill 100 saying that he urged the Liberals to pull the bill off the table for further study but when that did not happen, they made presentations to the Liberals to clarify the wording of the bill so landowners would be clear that this legislation would not put their landowner rights in jeopardy.  He was happy to report that as a result of the presentations by his party, the OFSC, and the OLA, the clarification to the wording did happen.

The floor was opened to questions and comments and there were members from across the province who stated that most landowners have reopened their land for snowmobile trails however there were still pockets of resistance, mostly from OLA members and landowners who follow OLA.  OFSC District 9 staff attended the August meeting of the Saugeen Regional Landowners Association (OLA member).  Elizabeth Marshall, research director for the OLA, also attended this meeting and was asked for her thoughts on whether or not she would allow a snowmobile trail to cross her land using the current Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs landowner memorandum of understanding (MOU). She said she would, if some modifications were made to the current MOU.  The changes Ms. Marshall said she would need are: a start date and end date, not an agreement in perpetuity; for the agreement to be non-transferable and non-registerable; change MOU to ‘agreement’; remove the term ‘occupier’ and make it strictly ‘owner’; and make it known that neither the snowmobile club nor the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) is a nominee or agent on the agreement.  This news from the meeting was reported in the Manitoulin Expositor newspaper on September 7, 2016.

As these changes don’t impact landowner or club insurance protection, the OFSC has created a modified MOU designed to incorporate any or all of these suggestions as necessary. At this time, Paul Shaughnessy, Executive Director of the OFSC recommended clubs add these clauses to the existing agreement form to be used with landowners who are still reluctant to let the trails back on their land. The membership was quite relieved to hear that there is significant progress in satisfying the OLA with an agreement that is mutually acceptable with the OFSC.  Fall is arriving and the volunteers will soon be getting trails set up and ready for the coming snowmobile season.  The generosity of the landowners is needed to make these trails happen and a good agreement that takes away landowners concerns is a big benefit.  The clubs are hopeful that this will clear up the remaining landowners who are reluctant to let them back on their property.

Sep 06

Driver Training Courses

DriverTraining

We will be offering two courses this season:

  • 19 November 2016, Beckwith Township Office, 1702 – 9th Line Beckwith, 8:30am – 4:30pm. Registration is 7pm to 8pm, 15 Nov 2016, at the Lackey’s house (1405 7th Line, Beckwith). ** PLEASE TAKE NOTE: There will be NO registration on the day of the course as there is only one instructor. Space is limited to 25 students
  • 14 January 2017, Beckwith Township Office, 1702 – 9th Line Beckwith, 8:30am – 4:30pm. Registration is 7pm to 8pm, 10 Jan 2017, at the Lackey’s house (1405 7th Line, Beckwith). ** PLEASE TAKE NOTE: There will be NO registration on the day of the course as there is only one instructor. Space is limited to 25 students.

Aug 25

BEAST LETTER TO OUR MEMBERS RE MORE ON THE SNOW (MOTS)

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Our sport, the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC), OFSC District One, and BEAST are all under serious financial pressure to maintain trail operations while trying to life cycle the aging provincial groomer fleet. To address these issues, and others, the OFSC has developed More on the Snow (MOTS) – a 5 year strategic initiative.

 

To summarize, the objectives of the MOTS plan are:

  • Increased Participation. By increasing overall participation (through attraction and retention of riders) by 6% to 100,000 permits.
  • Improved Organization Effectiveness. By developing a new organizational structure, reducing the number of organizational layers from three (OFSC, District, Club) to two (OFSC and District) with local clubs becoming chapters of the District.
  • Developing a groomer fleet asset management program and a groomer fleet operational management program.
  • Become Valued Stewards and Partners. By continuing to pursue long term government support programs.

 

Key points of the plan to highlight:

  • The current groomer fleet is too large to financially sustain.
  • 70% of the fleet is over 10 years old with more than 5000 hours.
  • Groomer Asset Management would allow the OFSC to take a provincial approach to life cycle management (vs the current approach of clubs managing this).
  • Grooming Operational Management would be shifted more so to the District to manage (vs the current approach of clubs managing this).
  • Reduce # of back-up groomers.
  • Remove artificial grooming boundaries between clubs.
  • OFSC bought 16 new groomers to kick start the program at a cost of $4M.
  • Estimate average cost of a purpose built groomer is now $300K.
  • High workload on a small group of volunteers is concerning.
  • Impending new not-for-profit legislation is concerning.
  • Local and provincial grants and other funding opportunities are not being utilized.
  • Reducing in administration costs thru Framework for change was not realized.
  • Standardize the size and operations between districts.
  • Current organizational structure causes barriers.
  • Need to reduce groomer fleet from 360 to 246 by purchasing 101 new groomers and removing 215. Need $4M to $6M annually to achieve plan.
  • Hiring of 6 regional positions to support clubs and Districts
  • Reduce the number of Districts from 16 to 12. This change will allow all districts to have on average 2700 Km’s of trail with 15+ clubs participating.
  • Districts manage all funds. Clubs only coordinate payment of minor expenses.
  • New District structure would see District 1 reorganized to Ottawa Region with 17 clubs (including BEAST) with a total of 3062 kms of trails (down from ~4000 kms)
  • Standardized District bylaws and operating procedures.
  • District 1 is targeted to go from 50 groomers to 29.

 

Volunteers are getting older and fewer. For years the same volunteers have been doing all the heavy lifting to support their club. MOTS addresses this directly with significant organizational changes to remove the administrative burden away from them.

The details to all of these proposed changes are further explained in documents that can be made available to you. If you wish an expanded explanation of all the changes, please send your request to info@thebeast.ca and the files will be sent to you. There is quite a bit of reading there so do not leave it to the last minute before our meeting.

At this year’s OFSC AGM in September, our club has 2 votes to say yeah or nay to these changes. Your understanding of these changes is very important to us and at our next BEAST meeting on Thursday, September 1st 2016 we will be discussing how we want our delegates to vote. If you can, please make a special effort to come to our meeting to learn more about MOTS.

 

The future of our club and snowmobiling is at stake.

 

BEAST Executive

Jun 28

BEAST Summer BBQ

Another great Beast Core Volunteers BBQ courtesy of Mike and Denise at their beautiful White Lake cottage!

Thank You so much guys for your warm hospitality once again!!

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Jun 12

BEAST 2016 AGM and BBQ // 4 Aug 16

BEAST BBQ AGM 2016

May 13

BEAST Landowner Appreciation Dinner 2016

BEAST Annual Landowner Appreciation Dinner was enjoyed by all last Saturday May 7th at the Canadian Golf and Country Club. An excellent Roast Beef Dinner was put on by the Canadian, and after dinner lots of door prizes were handed out to our landowners. Thanks landowners! Thanks to Deb Lackey for organizing this event and her helpers!! Thanks to Jim Lackey for the excellent presentation on the proposed Bill 100 from the Ontario government.

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May 06

Beauties of the BEAST 2016 donation to LCIH

Beauties of the BEAST Ride 2016, and the BEAST Club donates $1405 to Lanark County Interval House.http://lcih.org/
L-R: Brian Moreau, BEAST President, Angela Vaughan, LCIH, Sue Chayer, Julie-Anne Bedard

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Apr 11

BEAST LETTER TO OUR LANDOWNERS: Bill 100 Truth and Misinformation

As you may be aware, the Province of Ontario is in second reading of Bill 100, Supporting Ontario’s Trails Act, 2015. This Bill was introduced by Minister of Tourism Michael Coteau to help develop and enhance the trail infrastructure in Ontario. The Ministry consulted over 250 different trail groups and organizations encompassing hikers, bikers, snowmobilers, ATVers, canoeists/kayakers, birdwatchers and so on to develop this Bill. The Bill itself makes changes to nine existing laws as well as creating new legislation in supporting of Ontario trails on public or private land. The primary misunderstandings about this Bill relate to the section pertaining to easements. The focus of the remainder of this letter will be dispelling the misinformation being presented about easements.

Before we get into too much detail, the BEAST Snowmobile Club would like to take this opportunity to reassure our private landowners that we do not support this Bill. For the marginal benefit a few changes to existing laws would provide, the resulting anxiety from our landowners is not worth it. The BEAST would also like you to know that we have no intention of utilizing easements to secure trails. Our current Land Use Permission (LUP) has served us well for many years and we will continue to use it. Our intent is not to impede your property rights or handcuff you if you wish to make changes. We are only grateful guests on your land and with respect would like to continue that relationship.

Land Use Permission vs Easement

The Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) has used LUPs for over forty years. Basically, the LUP is a contract between the local snowmobile club and the landowner. It describes where the trail is, when access is granted, a cancellation notice period and whatever else both parties deem useful. It is used by the OFSC to ensure that its third party liability insurance covers that snowmobile trail on that property.

An easement is a contract surveyed and registered on title at the Ontario Land Registry office. This easement can be expensive to attain and must have landowner approval. Getting and registering an easement is an entirely voluntary action by the landowner.

Tom Black of the Ontario Landowners Association has been quoted as saying that “even oral agreements are easements.” This is false. An easement is registered on the title. None of our LUPs are registered on the title and they cannot be made into easements as a result of Bill 100.

It has also been suggested that easements can be imposed on landowners. Wrong again. Nothing in Bill 100 imposes easements on anyone.

Landowners, at all times, determine the terms and conditions of any and every agreement.

Your property, your rights!

There was a good article in the Ottawa Valley Business a couple of weeks back titled “Ego Versus Ethics” (Issue 179, April 5, 2016). When you have a moment, please read it.

What is the truth? The right for a landowner to create an easement already exists, but it is our understanding that if a landowner currently allows an easement it is registered on that property title in perpetuity—365 days a year every year until another legal application to remove or change it. Under Bill 100, there would be greater flexibility on the covenants of an easement. For example, a landowner could specify that the easement is from December 1st to March 31st and has a duration of five years. Any potential new owner of that piece of land could see that the easement would expire at some point.
Again, the BEAST Snowmobile Club emphasizes that we are not interested in easements and prefer to use our LUPs.

It has been rumoured that any LUP from OFSC can allow other trail users to use our agreement to access the trail. This is also incorrect. The LUP we have with each landowner is only between the BEAST/OFSC and that landowner. If the landowner wishes to grant access to other trail groups, our LUP does not cover those groups.

The OFSC will continue to use the time-tested LUPs. We are not interested in pursuing easements. We realize we are only guests on your property, and we would like to continue that relationship.

In closing, the BEAST thanks all of our landowners who have graciously offered their land for our trails. We hope this letter helps in your understanding of the facts about Bill 100.

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Additional Links
Ottawa Valley Business, Ego versus ethics, issue 179 (5 April 2016): www.ovbusiness.com/userfiles/file/2016%20Issues/Ottawa%20Valley%20Business%20-%20April%205%2C%202016.pdf

Legislative Assembly of Ontario, Bill 100, Supporting Ontario’s Trails Act, 2016: www.ontla.on.ca/web/bills/bills_detail.do?locale=en&Intranet=&BillID=3338

Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs, Landowner concerns in respect of access for snowmobile trails: www.ofsc.on.ca/content/landowner-concerns-respect-access-snowmobile-trails

Ontario Trails News, MPP Randy Hillier, founder of Ontario Landowners Association, responds to OLA claims in the Lanark Era: ontariotrails.blogspot.ca/2016/02/ontario-trails-news-misinformation.html

April 2016 Monthly Column by MPP John Yakabuski about Bill 100.

PDF Version of this Article

Bill100-BEAST_clean with edits

 

Feb 23

BEAST Achieves 15 Year Milestone with OFSC

The BEAST is registered with the OFSC with 309 KMs  of trail with perimeter towns including Smith Falls, Franktown, Carleton Place, Clayton, White Lake, Lanark, Almonte, Stittsville, Munster, Ashton, Barrhaven and Richmond. We average over 750 permit members, making us one of the largest groups in our district and in the top 10 out of 200 plus clubs for the province.

The BEAST is comprised of four sectors. The SE (previously Richmond Snow Rovers), SW (Ashton south west), NW (Ashton north west) and NE (Stittsville to Munster area)

We are purely run by volunteers! In 2015, the BEAST marks 15 years within the OFSC.

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Feb 23

29th Annual Toronto International Snowmobile ATV & Powersports Show

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