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Anti-OHV landowners have rights too

Dear Editor: In the Sept. 28 issue of the St. Paul Journal, Reeve Robert Bouchard states in defense of the illegal trail clearing by the Lac Sante Family Recreational Society that the County needs to acknowledge the needs of trail users.

Dear Editor:

In the Sept. 28 issue of the St. Paul Journal, Reeve Robert Bouchard states in defense of the illegal trail clearing by the Lac Sante Family Recreational Society that the County needs to acknowledge the needs of trail users. What about the needs and rights of landowners and of citizens who do not embrace the off-highway vehicle (OHV) culture?

These OHV trails come at a cost which is borne by taxpayers. This begs the question as to how much financial support the ratepayers of the County want to provide for OHV users.

The Reeve goes onto to state that OHV trail users support the local economy. Does he have an economic study that confirms this? I suspect not.

To compare recreational OHV trail users with the forestry and petroleum industries is simply disingenuous. Our province is in the business of forestry and petroleum and these industries are wealth generators for many citizens and communities.

At its meeting on Sept. 9, 2008, St. Paul County council voted to enter into an appropriate agreement with the Lac Sante Family Recreational Society to allow them to use gaming monies to further the development of the trail on several miles of undeveloped road allowance. I wonder how the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission would feel about the Society using gaming funds to contravene the law?

Did the County advise adjoining landowners of this planned trail development? Did the County agree to pushing a trail across a wetland? Did the County supervise in any way this trail development? Did the County realize that its partners were going to break the law? These are questions that need to be put to the county’s reeve and councillors.

The most important question, however, is whether or not the County of St. Paul has learned anything from this unfortunate episode. Judging by his comments, I suspect that Reeve Bouchard has not.

Mitch Lavoie

County of St. Paul





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