Sheguiandah FN council votes against use of road allowance by Snowdusters

SHEGUIANDAH—Sheguiandah First Nation council has voted down a proposal by the Manitoulin Snowdusters that would have allowed the latter group to use a road allowance to create a snowmobile trail. The trail would have been in place between Little Current and Manitowaning.

“At a Sheguiandah First Nation band council meeting held February 13 the Sheguiandah band council voted not to grant land use permission on the road allowance that runs north/south down the west side of the Sheguiandah First Nation reserve; for the purposes of creating a snowmobile trail,” Brad Middleton, of the Manitoulin Snowdusters Club, told the Recorder Tuesday morning.

“It now appears there will be no trail in place between Little Current-Manitowaning during this snowmobile season,” said Mr. Middleton.

When contacted by the Recorder Tuesday, Sheguiandah First Nation Band Council Chief Andrew Aguonie told the Recorder, “council voted against it. I’m still pursuing it. They (band council members) want more information on the right of way piece for the area.”

Chief Aguonie said, “I’ll be getting a (legal) opinion and bring it back to council and go from there. I don’t know if snowmobile trails run through any other First Nations lands on the Island, but I will be asking around to get their perspective on an open snowmobile trail and what the benefits or concerns are.”

Mr. Middleton told the Recorder, “preliminary discussions had taken place between the Manitoulin Snowdusters and Chief Andrew Aguonie back in January. The chief himself was in favour of granting the land use permission but his band council has the ultimate say and they declined to vote in favour of it, which is their right. We will have to go from here and see what we can get worked out.”

“When I was talking to Brad (Middleton) this morning he said once I get all the information I need to obtain maybe this can be looked at again in the fall by council,” Chief Aguonie told the Recorder. He noted he was in favour of the proposal-request by the Snowdusters. “When you look at the social economic benefits, there are a lot of off-Island snowmobilers that come to the Island, as well as local riders.  And there are not many gas stations open in the area, but there is one just down the road in Sheguiandah that is open all

the time.”

Mr. Middleton said that basically the rest of the trails on Manitoulin are now open. “The one trail that reconnects Little Current to Mindemoya is a go. This was approved by NEMI council by resolution on February 7. There needs to be work done on the trail but it is ready to go. With the large amount of snowfalls we had last Friday and Sunday the groomers are out and back in business on all our trails.”

The stake line to Whitefish Falls from Little Current has been in for about a week now, and the stake line to Killarney was in about 10 days ago, said Mr. Middleton. The stake line from Gore Bay to Spanish is not in yet. We will be doing a check across the North Channel on Wednesday to see if there is enough ice to install it.”