Snowdusters request for use of road allowance denied by Sheguiandah First Nation

SHEGUIANDAH—It appears that there will be no snowmobile trail in place between Sheguiandah and Manitowaning this snowmobiling season, as the Sheguiandah First Nation council has again voted down a request by the Manitoulin Snowdusters Snowmobile Club that would have allowed the group to use a portion of a road allowance  that runs along the boundary of the First Nation from Indian Mountain Road westerly to the southwestern corner of the community.

“We have been turned down by Sheguiandah First Nation council on our request,” said Doran McVey, president of the Snowdusters, last Thursday. “We don’t know if we can find another way to establish a snowmobile trail in this area this year.

Mr. McVey pointed out the Snowdusters were notified that their request had been denied after a band council meeting earlier this week, but have not been given a reason for the decision. This is the second year in a row they have rejected the request from the Snowdusters on the request.

Mr. McVey explained the Snowdusters had hoped that Sheguiandah council would 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.

As reported previously, in keeping with the as yet un-enacted provisions of the Manitoulin 1990 Land Agreement, council for the Town of Northeastern Manitoulin and the Islands had made an agreement with the Sheguiandah First Nation a condition of the use of the unopened road allowance abutting the reserve. The enabling regulations of the Manitoulin 1990 land claim stipulate that unopened road allowances adjacent to First Nation lands will revert to the control of the chief and council.

“Because their (Sheguiandah First Nation) property abuts the highway, with the 1990 Land Agreement, they have control over the road allowance,” said Mr. McVey. “The council for NEMI (Northeastern Manitoulin and the Islands) had given us permission to use this property, but conditional on approval from Sheguiandah as well.”

He explained, “we could have a trail there but at High Falls. We would have to go on the road to Sheguiandah and we won’t do that for safety reasons,” said Mr. McVey.

Mr. Mc Vey said, “basically we are giving up on having a trail in that area from Sheguiandah to Manitowaning this year we can’t use the side road at High Falls because it goes out on the road. We are still working on another way, but it is a long shot.”
Mr. McVey noted that, as of Tuesday afternoon, there were no trails on the Island that are open. They are all closed due to a lack of snow.

Despite several attempts by phone, the Recorder was not able to get a comment from Sheguiandah First Nation Chief Andrew Aguonie before this week’s press deadline.