Snowmobiles: a solution submitted to the executive committee

The Executive Committee of the City of Sherbrooke will explore a new solution to resolve the impasse with owners of Laliberté Road, who threaten to block the snowmobile trail on their property. Councilor Pierre Tremblay suggests offering a tax credit to owners who grant rights of way to snowmobiles and quads.
The vice-president of trail development at the Harfang Estrie Snowmobile Club, Marc Lachance, submitted a letter of support from the Quebec Federation of Snowmobilers to City Council on Monday. He challenged the elected officials, reminding them of the importance of the snowmobile industry in Quebec and the region.

“In Estrie, we have 1900 kilometers of trail, 4500 members and 6016 license plates in 2018. The fallout is $ 27 million,” argued Lachance.

It should be noted that the City has rejected an application for a zoning change aimed at reducing commercial use to lands on Labonté Road now used for rural purposes. Accessing such a request would have required a modification to the layout plan. Owners threaten to remove access to snowmobiles and quads if their application is denied.

“I would like a single advisor to put themselves in the shoes of an owner and tell me they would not have done the same thing. Why not reevaluate the evaluation of the land so that they pay the right price, “asked Marc Lachance, recalling that the Trans-Québec snowmobile trail is in danger.

Anne-Marie Leclerc, president of the Estrie Rainbow Quad Club, estimates that quads will be locked in Sherbrooke if the Trans-Québec Trail is not open. Another access is blocked in the Lennoxville area. “We are a roundabout between Brompton and Magog. We can not leave our territory anymore. Instead of having 41 km, people now have 15. We live on grants and members. We have a four-year permanent trail project along the highway, but if I lose my limbs, I will not have any more money, so no permanent trail. ”

Mayor Steve Lussier said he also received a letter from BRP reminding him of the economic importance of snowmobiles. “We are turning to new ways of doing things. I will call the executive committee tomorrow [Tuesday]. The City of Saguenay is one of the few who put a plan in force with the snowmobile associations. ”

He reiterated that the decision would nevertheless go to the municipal council and recalled that he presented the file to the Union of Quebec Municipalities for the creation of permanent trails.

Pierre Tremblay went there with a concrete suggestion. “I would see very well to have a tax credit for owners [granting rights of way]. It could give them a little balm and you could have a better relationship with them. ”

He asks the owners to be open while waiting for a solution applicable for 2020.

Vincent Boutin, Chair of the Urban Planning Advisory Committee, reminded that he has a lot of empathy for the owners and snowmobilers, but that for the coherence of the development of the city, it was not logical to give back the initial uses. . “We can not with citizen threats make emotional decisions. If we give in to threats, we will not serve the citizens … Urbanistically speaking, I will not recommend revisiting this decision. ”

Pierre Vaillancourt, owner of one of the lands concerned, estimates that his property has lost 75% of its value since the change of use. He denies himself wanting to take the snowmobilers hostage. “We do not want to hurt anyone. It’s the only way we can make ourselves heard. “

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