Proposed snowmobile trails present red flags for some
By Chad Ingram
Published Nov. 29, 2018
A proposal from the Haliburton County Snowmobile Association requesting that the Township of Minden Hills allow the association to use unopened road allowances for approximately seven kilometres of new trails near Minden is causing concern among some residents.
Township councillors heard from a number of residents during a crowded Nov. 22 public regarding the proposal.
The proposal entails the use of four, unopened road allowances, three of them north of the village of Minden, between Minden and Twelve Mile Lake. One is an unopened road allowance between Fleming Road and Scotch Line Road; the second is an unopened road allowance between Scotch Line Road and Plantation Road; and a third is an unopened road allowance between Plantation Road and Twelve Mile Lake Road.
The fourth is located in the South Lake area, and is an unopened road allowance between the hydro corridor and Kendrick Creek Lane.
Some residents said they were supportive of the use, given certain caveats. A man who lives in the Fleming Road area said that a walking link between Fleming Road and Scotch Line Road should be maintained.
“People on foot should be able to walk that trail,” he said. He also said there should be stop signs erected at every intersection between the proposed snowmobile trails and plowed roadways.
Other residents were opposed to the proposal, citing concerns such as noise, trespassing and safety.
“My experience with snowmobiles is negative,” one resident of the Plantation Road area told councillors, adding he intended to run electric fencing along an area of his property to protect his livestock.
“Is the grader going to be coming down the road?” he asked, explaining his children walked the roadway in order to get to the bus stop.
Another resident of the Plantation Road area told councillors she’d purchased her property for peace and tranquility, and because it did not abut a snowmobile trail. She said having snowmobiles on the unopened road allowance would mean others would not be able to use it.
“Really, if the snowmobiles are using it, it’s too dangerous for anyone else to,” she said.
Some property owners told councillors they wanted liability protection in case trespassing snowmobilers were injured on their properties and some said they’d like to see some kind of environmental impact assessment performed.
“I’ve heard a lot of comments about trespass and liability, as well as safety concerns,” Minden Hills planner Ian Clendening told the room. “To address those, I think that just exists in the general world, regardless of what we do.”
In terms of environmental impacts, “This is not like we are constructing a bridge, or anything,” Clendening said. “The snowmobile association is not going to be developing in those areas.”
Clendening said there was no identified need for an environmental impact study.
Councillors decided to allow the first road allowance – a 0.4-kilometre stretch between Fleming Road and Scotch Line Road to be used – and citing concerns raised at the public meeting deferred discussion on use of the other three, requesting further information from the HCSA to address residents’ concerns.