FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 5, 2016
QUEEN’S PARK – Following concerns raised by constituents in regard to Bill 100, Supporting Ontario’s Trails Act, 2016, Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett raised concerns about the legislation in the Ontario Legislature.
During legislative debate, Barrett related concerns about the government proposal to create trail easements on private land.
“But by putting that word ‘easement’ in here, it has cast doubt,” he said. “It was a mistake to include that in the legislation. Obviously, there is a lot of confusion around that term with respect to a sport where landowners and snowmobilers got together, the same as we see with people on horseback and what we’re seeing with ATVs. It’s something we see with hunters. You get permission—not for seven years. It’s usually for the coming hunting season.”
Barrett’s comments were made during second reading debate on the bill. The next stage, after second reading vote, is to send the bill for consultation on committee.
For more information, contact MPP Toby Barrett at 519-428-0446 or [email protected]
Ontario Legislative Assembly
Monday, April 4, 2016
Mr. Toby Barrett: I do have a comment. Actually, the minister opposite talked about how they’ve consulted for years—I wasn’t aware of that—suggesting that those on this side of the House are spreading fear.
I’ll just read an e-mail that I received a week or so ago. I will say snowmobiling isn’t that big down in my area. We don’t get an awful lot of snow, other than last night and maybe one other day in this past winter. But “Concerned” from this email came into my office. The person is concerned that if the bill is passed, it gives the government the right to make any or all trails easements on private land. The concern with these kinds of easements is that they would give any body or group the right to access and use the trail, even though the permission to use it was only granted to one specific group.
The minister has indicated that, well, this kind of an easement is voluntary, but why was this issue raised in the first place? We’ve had snowmobile trails for a number of years. I know a number of us in this House, when we were in government, worked with snowmobile associations. We helped them set up a protocol—helped them to organize, really, at a provincial level, and this was a good thing. I’d like to see more of this with the ATVs, for that matter.
But by putting that word “easement” in here, it has cast doubt. It was a mistake to include that in the legislation. Obviously, there is a lot of confusion around that term with respect to a sport where landowners and snowmobilers got together, the same as we see with people on horseback and what we’re seeing with ATVs. It’s something we see with hunters. You get permission—not for seven years. It’s usually for the coming hunting season.
Mr. Toby Barrett: Our Minister of Labour, the member for Oakville, is not listed on the sheet here. He mentioned Harry Barrett and his work with trails. You made mention of the Bruce Trail. Coincidentally enough—I think it was when I was in high school—I spent a number of days working on the Bruce Trail. We were up on the escarpment. It would be east of Waterdown. I think we could overlook part of your riding from that height. I spent a number of days working up there with Harry Barrett. This was another Harry Barrett; this was my father. There was a crew of us up there.
Harry Barrett was a—
Mr. Percy Hatfield: The author.
Mr. Toby Barrett: Yes, the author. We were members of the Norfolk Field Naturalists and the FON, as it was known back then. It was such an experience to be up there with outdoorsmen. We built a bridge with a log. About 12 of us could walk this log down the trail and across the creek.
I know the other Harry Barrett down my way—I’ve known him since he was a young man; he’s 94 now—had the vision for the Lynn Valley Trail, which runs down through Simcoe-Port Dover along the LE and N, the railway tracks down our way. Back then, that was a tough go, dealing with farmers and landowners to get permission.
The member from Eglinton–Lawrence talked about a number of very interesting trails. He had to mention his Ford Ranger. I think we were talking about that the other day. I’ve got a little story. I was at the dump a few days ago. I have a GMC truck, and it had a big clevis on the back. A guy came up on a big earth mover. He jumped out and comes running around, looking at the back of my truck. He says, “What’s that clevis for? Is that to pull Fords out of the mud?” As they say, friends don’t let friends drive Fords—although I own one as well.