Provincial association looks at regional system for snowmobile clubs

The picket line is now in to Spanish from Gore Bay as are the lines for Little Current to Killarney, Little Current to Whitefish Falls and to Killarney, and a new line from Honora Bay to M’Chigeeng.

ESPANOLA—The Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) is looking at a proposal to go to a five region system in the province, instead of the current district set up. This could mean some good news for snowmobile enthusiasts on Manitoulin Island, in the form of reduced snowmobile trail permits.

“The OFSC is talking about going to a zone-region system and we’re kind of hoping this will happen,” said Sue Middaugh, secretary of the Manitoulin Snowdusters. “If you take out a snowmobile trail permit for one of the regions, and only snowmobile in that one region, the permits will be cheaper under this new proposal. It would be better for people here because we could see cheaper permits.”

“They are changing operations to make it more like a business; no one ever likes change,” said Dennis Lendrum, president of the Espanola Snowmobile Club, after the recent OFSC annual general meeting.

“There is talk of changing the province into five regions overall, which would also mean reducing the cost of trail permits for individual riders if they stay and only snowmobile in their region,” said Mr. Lendrum. “There would be a reduced rate that would benefit local riders, but you would have to buy a permit if you go from one region to another.”

While the five region concept is being considered, Mr. Lendrum said the OFSC executive decided to put this off for a bit to garner more information and input from clubs around the province. He noted one consideration that will have to be clarified is whether this would be enforceable.

“And if they cut the number of districts into five regions where is the money-revenues going to come from for clubs? This idea would be good for the riders themselves, but where is the money going to come from to operate?” asked Mr. Lendrum.

If the five region system is developed it would see Manitoulin being put in a group with Espanola, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, and would also border Killarney and all points in between.

Mr. Lendrum continued, explaining, “there was also talk of maybe allowing for different forms of trail permits being available. It is being suggested there be seven, three, and one-day permits; border communities like Sault Ste. Marie would love the one-day permits while places like Espanola and Manitoulin Island don’t sell many of these permits. However, “there were close to 500 people at the conference, and the proposal got turned down.”

Mr. Lendrum pointed out, “clubs can still get one-day special permits, for sponsored events for such things as Snowarama or a Ride for Day.”

Tom Sasvari