By Chad Ingram
Published Nov. 10 2016
Algonquin Highlands council is asking for more information from the Haliburton County Snowmobile Association (HCSA) about a request to help maintain a snowmobile trail alongside Braeloch Road near Halls Lake.
As public works director Mike Thomas told councillors during a Nov. 3 meeting recently a property owner through whose property part of a snowmobile trail has previously existed has requested the trail be relocated from that property.
The trail runs from Stanhope to Halls Lake and the re-routed section would run along the east side of Braeloch Road for approximately three kilometres.
The establishment of the trail would require the cutting back of brush along the roadway and Thomas said he anticipated the cost of that work would be about $4000 of which the HCSA would cover half.
“We have the brusher still on the machine” Thomas said.
Along a section of road where there are four driveways and a culvert Thomas said riders would be redirected to the roadway with signage supplied by the HCSA.
“They would just come out on the road” Thomas said so that the driveways wouldn’t be affected.
The HCSA is also looking for a memorandum of understanding from the township and would name the township as additionally insured on its insurance policy.
Councillors had numerous concerns with the concept.
“When would you have normally planned to do brushing there?” asked Deputy-reeve Liz Danielsen.
Thomas said not for several years.
“What would happen in the case they went over that culvert and ruined that culvert?” asked Councillor Lisa Barry.
Thomas said that vegetation in the area was such that snowmobilers would have to travel out onto the road first anyway.
“This is about the realistic acceptance . . . of enhanced risk and expectation” said Reeve Carol Moffatt.
Moffatt wondered if agreeing to brushing alongside Braeloch Road would create an expectation of annual maintenance by the township.
“That’s not in our annual plan” she said.
Moffatt said she agreed with Barry that the culvert was a concern in terms of safety and also potential costs.
“The township can’t be expected to repair its own culvert that’s been damaged by someone else” she said. “You want to help out but you want to make sure you’re not creating an unsafe situation for anybody.”
Councillor Marlene Kyle the only snowmobiler amongst councillors was adamantly opposed to the whole proposal.
“I struggle with the township putting any money into this at all” Kyle said adding she was surprised the township was being asked to absorb any of the costs.
At the suggestion of chief administrative officer Angie Bird council decided they would invite reps from the HCSA to come to a council meeting and answer questions directly.
“Let’s get it right from the horse’s mouth” Moffatt said.