The Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association wishes to clarify that the proposed Ontario Trails Act (Bill 100) has no impact on the existing handshake or written agreements the Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association has with the landowners, who so graciously allow the Ganaraska Hiking Trail to pass on their private land.
Reading Bill 100 will correct any misinformation regarding access to private land, as will this recent note from Michael Coteau, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport:
The province introduced Bill 100, the Supporting Ontario’s Trails Act, 2015, to improve access to Ontario’s trails, building both a healthier, and more prosperous Ontario. Our ministry held consultations with over 250 organizations, including municipalities, Aboriginal groups, trail organizations and not-for-profit organizations. The feedback the ministry heard during these consultations was integral to shaping the proposed legislation.
To be clear, an easement pursuant to Bill 100, if passed, would be a voluntary agreement between a landowner and an eligible body or bodies. No property owner would be compelled to provide an easement unless they agreed to do so.
– Michael Coteau, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport
Many of the Ganaraska Hiking Trail’s “handshake” or written land use agreements have been in place for close to 50 years, and the landowner has the right to allow or withdraw access at any time. While easements are a more permanent arrangement whereby landowners are compensated for a permanent right to cross their land, the establishment of an easement is totally at the discretion of the landowner.
Landowners can be assured that Bill 100 (Bill 100.pdf) has no bearing on our current land use agreements with landowners, and contrary to what was suggested by the Ontario Landowner’s Association, in recent media coverage, the issue of easements is 100% in the hands of the landowner, per section 12.3 which reads that:
“An owner of land may grant an easement, with or without covenants, to one or more eligible bodies,
(a) for the preservation, enhancement or management of the use of, or access to, all or a portion of the land for purposes relating to trails or to activities relating to trails;
(b) for the creation, maintenance or management of trails for public use; or
(c) for the purposes as may be prescribed by the regulations made under this Act.”
In addition, the Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association has no intention whatsoever to approach landowners to turn its existing land use agreements into easement agreements.
The Ganaraska Hiking Trail Association thanks its landowners for their understanding.
For additional information, please contact:
President Hike Ontario Representative
Bob Bowles Frieda Baldwin