Negotiations have broken down between the Eastern Ontario Trails Alliance and the Ontario Federation of All Terrain Vehicle Clubs over access to the trails across Hastings County.
EOTA General Manager Cindy Cassidy told Hastings County council on Thursday the “reciprocal agreement” broke down earlier this year when the ATV group gave out discount passes.
Cassidy said it involves the issue of liability and the EOTA is hiring a consultant to outline a new plan.
Cassidy says the trail association could be exposed to increased liability.
Cassidy said the one-pass legal agreement will protect the municipalities and the land owners along the trail. She said the ATV group does not contribute financially to the trail as municipalities, provincial and federal governments do. More than $500,000 is brought in from user pay to support the trails.
Bancroft Mayor Paul Jenkins emphasized, “Many people are riding without a permit now and we are liable. Everybody has to work together and get this right.”
Cassidy said the trail is serviced by the OPP and “fines for trespassing could range from $200 to $500, even $1,000.”
Mike Chicoine of OFATV told council 4,000 riders are separated from Eastern Ontario because of the Hastings County issue. Chicoine indicated he would welcome a land use agreement “on bended knee” since they need access so as not to be isolated. He said he would be glad to look at such a new agreement.
Warden Rodney Cooney said they, the two organizations, didn’t seem far apart but, “the big thing is the ATV group needs to look at some contribution to the trails.”
Cassidy indicated to council she would be glad to meet with the ATV officials today to go over a one-pass agreement and if accepted she would refer it to the county’s planning department.