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Muskoka Lakes Snow Trails Association AGM

Blake G

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Today's Facebook message from MLSTA


Muskoka Snowtrails

6 hrs ·


Urgent call for all interested snowmobilers to attend the MLSTA annual Saturday May 7th 10am Glen Orchard.


After more than 10 dedicated years of dedicated service, our executive directors are retiring. We cant thank them enough for all their service, but this leaves a huge gap in leadership for our club. Please see the message below from our club president Rene, and if you care at all about keeping a trail network in Bala and Port Carling please think about becoming a member of our club.


"Hello everyone, just a reminder that our AGM is coming up on May 7, 10:00 am at the Glen Orchard Community Center. This year will bring about major changes in club and district operations. From this point forward all clubs in all the snowmobile districts will operate as a cohesive unit. For our district, (District 7) the change will not be too severe since 9 of the 11 clubs already operate as a unit. The 2 "stand alone" clubs will now join with the MSR and we will all operate as District 7.....


This year all our executive directors will be retiring. Most have been with the club 10 years or more and some many more than that. We are all starting to feel "burned out" and with the workload and age it is becoming more difficult to stay interested. This will leave a large void in our club. There have been a few of our volunteers that have agreed to undertake some responsibilities that are substantial but there are still many jobs that need to be looked after. We still have numerous jobs to be looked after.


One such responsibility is Landowner Relations. This one consists of getting in touch with new landowners, requesting permission to install or keep an existing trail on private property, identifying the lot location and trail location on said property and making sure the LUP's are signed and registered with the District and dealing with correspondence from existing landowners, keeping record of specific requests that certain landowners have and making sure we are complying with them. Some Landowners who request copies of our insurance certificate are sent them. Basically anything dealing with landowners in general.


Another position is as trails coordinator. The responsibility of this position is to plan trail upgrades and any repairs or re-routes that may be necessary. Also involved is long range planning for new bridges and old ones that need to be installed. Part of the job is to apply for funding from various sources of government.


As you know, the grooming operations were at best "difficult" this past season with all the mild weather and trail closures. I must thank Rainer Hacker, our lead operator for all the ti"me put in to open trails as well as train 1 new operator. Our second new operator will be trained next season and a brush up session for Trevor Quinton, who has been operating the Centaur the past couple of years, to get used to running our Husky and become a full time operator as well. I plan to stay on and help with grooming operations over the next few years.


So as you can see there are many jobs that need to be done. Many helping out will make all these jobs go easier and faster and not as daunting as they sound. I ask everyone to PLEASE come out to the AGM and be involved in the planning of our club for the future. If you don't get involved NOW there will be nothing left to get involved with!"




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This is my biggest fear in the new way of doing things is the resulting loss of volunteers. 

X2 Bill

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  • 3 weeks later...

Muskoka Lakes Snow Trails Association Annual General Meeting
May 7, 2016
Glen Orchard Community Centre
14 Attending: Fred Kelsey, Bob Hogg, Tony Molica, Mike Webb, René Leenaars,
Janet Leenaars, Margaret Kenwright, Steve Long, Steve Elliott, Jeff Hall,
Rainer Hacker, Perry Buttineau, Bob McTavish, Dave Young
OPEN: 10:05am – René Leenaars called the meeting to order and welcomed everyone.
MINUTES: Minutes of last AGM (May 3, 2014) were distributed. Bob McTavish moved to accept the Minutes as read and Mike Webb seconded. All in favor, Carried.
PRESIDENT’S REPORT: René reported on the status of current projects, namely,
A) CP OVERPASS (last link in the Oka Road snowmobile trail to eliminate travel on Muskoka Road 38).
– OFSC grant of $22,000 has covered engineering. Next step is for the Township of Muskoka Lakes (TML) to coordinate with CP Rail to build the 90-foot bridge. It may double as a tourist bridge owned by the Township; a permanent, safe rail crossing near the Bala water tower.
– René has met with TML Roads Department Chair Roger Young, who suggests there is support from the Councilors. The project is on hold and will resume under the guidance of the next MLSTA Board of Directors.
– OFSC has ear-marked funds for the bridge development but another application is to be made for the funds.
B) BALA WATER CROSSING to avoid travel on Muskoka Road 169 bridge and under low railway bridge at Portage Landing parking lot.
– $50,000 in TML budget for floating docks at this landing in Bala Bay. Similar to the crossing at Port Carling, new summer boat docking would be floated and linked to create a winter snowmobile crossing.
– The township asks MLSTA to apply to FedNor for the required balance of $80,000. René has asked that TML might prepare the application paperwork for us to sign.
– New MLSTA Board may continue discussions. René understands TML would like this in place for next snowmobile season or following Spring.
– There is maintenance of the bridge to consider, as is done with Port Carling crossing.
GROOMING: Usual 700-800 grooming hours were reduced this year to around 100 because of weather conditions and trail closures. René explained how payment for+2
trailwork comes to MLSTA from Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) through Muskoka Snowmobile Region (MSR).
Question – “Is there trail work planned before next season?” René answered:
– to corduroy approximately 1,600 feet of C114 swamp trail between Bala and Glen Orchard. It is privately owned and requires Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) approval and OFSC grant.
– a re-route in Port Carling is necessary because of landowner trail closure on C102D near the treatment plant.
– trail coming out at IGA parking lot is of interest to the new Tim Horton owners who will work with MLSTA to route it through their parking lot.
TREASURER’S REPORT: (Attached) Janet Leenaars presented the Income and Expense Statement. Steve Long moved to accept the report as read, Steve Elliott seconded. Carried.
Question – “What is our Club bank account for?” René explained MLSTA funds are to reimburse volunteers for some gas mileage or supplies while on club work, rental and supplies for meetings, rental of some trail equipment, and to help cover the required 10% of expenses for projects where MSR pays 90%. Covering 10% or more if possible helps to ensure our projects are addressed by MSR. Fundraising would help our situation. Mike Webb then donated $10 to the club. Thank you, Mike! Bob Hogg suggested a section on the MLSTA Facebook page asking for donations might get good results since there are over 1,000 friends of the FB.
HEALTH & SAFETY: (In Secretary’s Binder) No changes from OFSC.
TRAILS & EQUIPMENT: René introduced Dave Young and welcomed as operator-in-training this season. We also recognize and appreciate the continuing service of Rainer Hacker and we thanked Perry Buttineau for his help to Rainer and MLSTA on the machinery.
Gary Quaife – Mike Webb noted Gary Quaife’s retirement this past season as a Director and Groomer Operator after many years of dedication to MLSTA. Margaret offered to have a thank-you certificate made and presented to Gary.
Discussion about RIDES – Steve Elliott offered to organize some Club Rides through the Facebook page – to interest riders in the area, get to know each other, meet for a few Saturday rides and restaurant lunches. Bob Hogg noted FB page will soon include both promotion of club rides and opportunity for donations.
Trails & Equipment items:
A) We no longer have the Centaur. This limits early brushing of trails. Province-wide reduction of equipment is planned for more efficient grooming. Neighboring clubs will cooperate so that all trails can be scheduled for grooming.
B) René recognized the generous donations from Muskoka Lumber Port Carling, Weismiller TimberMart, ProLine Rentals, Glen Orchard General Store. He reminded us to support these businesses and to thank them on behalf of MLSTA.
C) René thanked Mike Webb for his past dedication and success selling advertising space for the MSR map and installing advertisers’ signs on the trails. Larry Horton of Hill’n’Gully now sells advertising for the map. Our club is still responsible for advertisers’ signs on our trails.
D) Permit Sales – beginning 2016-17 season, all permits will be sold online; there will be no more physical outlets. Sales at outlets have declined steadily over the past few years whereas online permit sales have doubled.
– René provided correspondence (Attached) from Larry Horton (V-P of MSR/ District 7, Pres. Hill and Gully Riders) which is his interpretation of the proposed Bill 100 (In Secretary’s Binder).
– Some landowners are concerned that a legal easement on their property for the use of snowmobile trails, over time and through subsequent sales of the property, could become owned by OFSC. Term “Easement” to cross rather than “Permission” to cross is worded for permanent permission, owner to owner. But the cost of surveys and legal work to create legal easements is prohibitive.
– René received an email from a representative at Queen’s Park that Bill 100 may not pass. Instead, the Minister has established a new working committee to re-write the agreement among Landowner, OFSC, and a Trails Council.
– Muskoka Lakes Association (MLA) entered the debate, suggesting to landowners they open no trails until Bill 100 is settled or dropped.
Question – “are landowners paid for use of trail?” René explained they’re not paid so that OFSC insurance can cover landowners. If paid, then landowner would be responsible.
-Structure of MLSTA –
– “District 7” is comprised of 11 snowmobile clubs – 9 in the Muskoka Snowmobile Region plus 2 independent clubs. MLSTA is one of the nine MSR member-clubs; Port Sydney’s Hill and Gully Riders and Gravenhurst’s Snowcrest Riders run independently.
– As of a yet unspecified date this summer, each District will oversee the operations of all Clubs within that District (for us, 11 Clubs).
– Funding will change so that all Clubs in a District will share resources and Groomers (vehicles).
– The number of large groomer vehicles will be reduced over the next four years from 24 to 15.
– The District will oversee all funds from any club that chooses to opt out of incorporation. If not incorporated, a club only requires a President.
– Discussion regarding workload, it remains the same for MLSTA as for other clubs, whether we have a Board of Directors or only have a President. A group of people still needs to manage trail work, brushing, schedule grooming, speak with landowners, keep trail signs current, operate Trail Patrol.
– Discussion regarding Incorporation, Members present today decided to leave structure as it is for now. Several people are willing to take over the executive positions following the retirement of the current Board of Directors.
FOR 2-YEAR TERM (2016-7 and 2017-18 Snowmobile Seasons)
Current Executives of MLSTA are retiring as of May 7, 2016. They are: René Leenaars, President; Michael Webb, Vice-President; Janet Leenaars, Treasurer/Permits; Bob McTavish, Director Landowner Issues; Margaret Kenwright, Secretary/Permits.
Six people volunteered to serve on the Board of Directors of MLSTA. Margaret moved to nominate them to the Board as of May 7, 2016. René Leenaars seconded the motion. All in favor. Carried. New Directors are:
1. Tony Molica
2. Steve Long
3. Steve Elliott,
4. Bob Hogg,
5. Dave Young
6. Fred Kelsey
René will be available in an advisory capacity as Past President.
– Retiring executive members will provide any information or assistance required by the new Board of Directors.
– Club Responsibilities may include the following plus other duties as decided by the new Board of Directors: schedule grooming and coordinate employment of groomer operators, see to Landowner issues, attend MSR meetings, negotiate with Township of Muskoka Lakes as necessary, maintain bank account and communicate with members.
12:15pm – Steve Elliott moved to adjourn the meeting and Bob McTavish seconded.

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