Letter: Writer frustrated over trespassing on Boosneck private property

A missive meant to educate, rather than rant

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is an open letter to “the persons operating or allowing their children to operate snowmobiles, ATVs, UTVs and dirt bikes in the community of Little Current” and has been reprinted here at the author’s request.

To the Expositor:

As the owner of property on Boosneck Road in Little Current I have become increasingly frustrated by the trespassing on my property by the operators of off-road vehicles. Considerable damage was done last fall by the operators of dirt bikes. In the spring and fall the ground is far too soft to support vehicle traffic. I have placed no trespassing signs and tape in the past but both have been ignored. In most cases that I have observed and identified the drivers they have been youths under the age of 16. I will not get into how they can legally get to my property while adhering to all licence and insurance requirements as well as the liability aspects should an accident occur. I have now permanently posted my property and I would like to request that all operators respect this posting.

I am also questioning the legal status of the marked and signed snowmobile trail that has been established along the east side of Boosneck Road, which is in Ward 2. When I questioned NEMI staff on its status I was told they would check into it. I have yet to receive a response. 

Most of the east side of Boosneck Road including my property is zoned residential. Snowmobilers using this trail are constantly veering off onto my property and I’m sure the residents of the new housing units in the Hayward subdivision don’t appreciate off road vehicles driving within feet of their back doors at all hours of the day and night. I am requesting that the trail be moved to the west side of Boosneck Road. I have heard similar complaints of trespassing from the owners of properties along the lagoon road portion of the trail.

It is very unfortunate that I have recently had to ask the police to become involved in this issue. It was not a decision that I took lightly and so far I have only asked that warnings be issued. I am hoping that word of mouth will help to resolve the issue. I would really regret having to request that trespassing charges be laid but it may come to that in the future.  Snowmobiling is one of the few recreational activities available during the winter on the Island, but if landowners rights are not respected it may in the future become an increasingly restricted activity. I feel I have been very tolerant in regards to this matter over the last number of years but I am reaching the limits of my tolerance. 

Hopefully this letter will be viewed more along the lines of educational rather than a rant.

I will close by quoting from The Official Ministry of Transportation (MTO) Driver’s Handbook:

“You are trespassing if you drive your snowmobile on private property without permission from the owner. The owner is not required to have a ‘No Trespassing’ sign posted. If you are driving your snowmobile on private property, you must stop and identify yourself when asked by the police, the owner of the property or a representative of the owner. If you are told to leave the property, you must do so immediately.

“You may be fined if you are convicted of trespassing. In addition, you may be ordered to pay damages. Under certain circumstances, you may also be required to pay for the cost of prosecuting. Charges will be laid against the driver of the snowmobile. If the driver is not known, the owner may be charged if the snowmobile was used with the owner’s permission.”

Sincerely,

Don Gray

Little Current