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bbakernbay

OFSC Press Release Regarding Land Use Agreements

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Known issue with municipal areas in D1, and nobody said a (expletive deleted) word until the passes were sold, and volunteers had wasted a LOT of time and effort. 

My local club is pretty much rooked without the multi-use trails, other nearby clubs are going to get pretty much zero traffic with the heart of the system ripped out. , local businesses are worried.

We probably STILL wouldn't know if it hadn't finally snowed. Transparency and accountability are sorely lacking.

 

Some class action lawyer is going to get in on this. 

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Funny how the OFSC washes there hands of it and pins it on the local clubs and how they all miraculously found problems with there insurance policies at the exact same time. After all of these years., what a coincident. However, I remember paying the OFSC for my trail passes, not my local club. 

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Not making excuses,  but i don't think OFSC knew until the end of October. They then had to re-write the agreements taking out a section of wording, and send them to the clubs Sometime late November. That gave the local clubs Basically a month to try and get the new agreements signed off. Of course, Christmas, new Years etc. People on holidays etc.

These bigger companies & municipalities had to get the new agreements checked and due diligence done on them before signing, if they didn't like the wording, or that the old clause was taken out, they did not sign the new one. (CP rail)

I don't think its right that the clubs and Volunteers are taking the $hit for it. I think if OFSC said something in November that at least there were trails at risk of not opening and a to the point reasoning, it would of saved a lot of crap slinging.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/796637134186716/

Edited by Jason T

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19 minutes ago, Jason T said:

Not making excuses,  but i don't think OFSC knew until the end of October. They then had to re-write the agreements taking out a section of wording, and send them to the clubs Sometime late November. That gave the local clubs Basically a month to try and get the new agreements signed off. Of course, Christmas, new Years etc. People on holidays etc.

These bigger companies had to get the new agreements checked and due diligence done on them before signing, if they didn't like the wording, or that the old clause was taken out, they did not sign the new one. (CP rail)

I don't think its right that the clubs and Volunteers are taking the $hit for it. I think if OFSC said something in November that at least there were trails at risk of not opening and a to the point reasoning, it would of saved a lot of crap slinging.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/796637134186716/

Finally we are getting some helpful information thanks to Jason T.  This appears to say that OFSC revised the Standard Landowner Use Permission Agreement and directed all Clubs to then go out and get the new revised LUPs signed.  Is this correct?
 

This in itself is a big task, especially at start of the season and always risks having someone refuse or physically cannot find the Landowner for a timely approval.

 

Secondly the Corporate landowners like municipalities, conservation authorities, railways, etc. are naturally going to turn over the new LUPs to their legal staff for review and guess what, this takes a lot of time and with the big landowners probably wanting revisions or even refusal.

 

Yes, a lot to put on the Clubs at their most trying time and secondly when you make province wide plans you need to assess the possible impact and whether it is worth doing.  The impact on some Districts looks very serious.

 

Many of us are struggling to know what the hell really happened to cause this chaos at the worst possible time.  If there are more facts to be shared, please do so.  Always say there are 3 sides to every story.

 

Very distressing to hear that longtime Volunteers are fed up because they are a diminishing resource.

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All the information i was able to gather, is just what people posted on the net. No idea if it is all true, nor do i have any insider type information.

 - From what i have read: a snowmobile was struck by a train on CP property, that person died. It went to court, CP was able to wash there hands of it because of a clause the OFSC / insurer had in there previous land use agreement. After the court proceedings, the Insurer / OFSC removed that section of wording. CP now refuses to sign the new one because that clause was removed, leaving them open for liability.

I think the old wording, left the OFSC clubs and Volunteers at risk of some liability.

As far as i know, the court case finished in October, which is the reason for the crappy timing and scrambling to get new agreements in place with all land owners and Municipalities..

Edited by Jason T
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18 minutes ago, Jason T said:

All the information i was able to gather, is just what people posted on the net. No idea if it is all true, nor do i have any insider type information.

 - From what i have read: a snowmobile was struck by a train on CP property, that person died. It went to court, CP was able to wash there hands of it because of a clause the OFSC / insurer had in there previous land use agreement. After the court proceedings, the Insurer / OFSC removed that section of wording. CP now refuses to sign the new one because that clause was removed, leaving them open for liability.

I think the old wording, left the OFSC clubs and Volunteers at risk of some liability.

As far as i know, the court case finished in October, which is the reason for the crappy timing and scrambling to get new agreements in place.

Thanks Jason for trying to fill in the blanks.

 

This scenario certainly makes sense and explains the urgency of OFSC wanting to revise the LUP.

 

Somewhat disingenuous of OFSC Press Release saying the Insurance Policy hasn’t changed in 20 years, which is probably true, but neglecting to say that recent liability claim experience has made it absolutely necessary to amend the LUP Agreement in order to better protect OFSC Volunteers and the OFSC from claims resulting from activities not directly related to snowmobiling or outside winter season.

 

Below is what they said yesterday and it is a little confusing about “clubs have ... entered into agreements” which appears to put the onus on clubs being at fault.  Just my interpretation, others may chime in to clarify or correct.

 

“Contrary to claims on various social media platforms, THERE HAS BEEN NO CHANGE to the OFSC insurance coverage in 20 years. Any information stating our coverage has been altered is false. The truth is, some clubs have recently, through a review process, discovered they have entered into agreements which expose them to liability activities completely unrelated to snowmobile trail operations.

The OFSC does not wish to see any volunteer exposed to such risk.”

Edited by bbakernbay
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I believe there was a clause in the old Land use agreement, that had been in there for a long time, and made it possible for companies like CP, Hydro etc to sign off on it.

I think the OFSC insurer made them take that out, and have new LUP' s signed, which is where the problem lies currently.

so, some companies will not sign the new LUP without that clause, and the OFSC / Insurer will not put it back in because of what happened with CP. and how it could leave clubs and volunteers on the Hook if they got sued.

So, in a way, the OFSC statement is correct. The insurance hasn't changed, but they had to change the LUP so Insurance would cover the liability, and not clubs or its members. And what they are calling the "review process" stemmed from the court case with CP.

Edited by Jason T
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Undoubtedly the OFSC is correct but their communications and explanation of the issue is lacking in my opinion.  The total impact is not yet known, hopefully some of these issue will get resolved this season.

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13 hours ago, GTC said:

Yep, Im close to walking, it started for me with the reduction of the groomer fleet, they practically gave away good equipment that clubs could have used.

They want us to do 8 hr shifts max, we struggle to do some routes in 12, because we went from 4 -5 machines. We have to meet up in our own vehicles to spare each other off at our own cost.

We cant make up a normal schedule because the groomers dont have a stationary post. I m tired of hearing you are the OFSC, sorry to say I Am not,

Who wants you to do 8 hrs max? Some of our routes were 14 hours but the new to us groomer shaves that down to under 10. Twice the HP, better front blade. better more responsive drag.

Most of our groomer operators are professional truck drivers, 13 hours is a max day by MTO standards, or farmers that run equipment for any hours needed, sometimes we are both. We are all more than capable of safely operating the groomer for this length of time, and we are all more than man enough to admit when it's time to stop, or make a phone call to swap out a driver if needed.

Where does this restriction come from?

 

As for an abstract, I'm very happy to offer mine up. Everyone operating a groomer should have an abstract done at least yearly. I ride my snowmobile around these operators...don't need a questionable cowboy on the trails with a 9 foot wide weapon.

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From CBC News

 

Insurance impasse puts snowmobile season on thin ice

 
 
 
Stu Mills
 
9 hrs ago
 
 
 
 
 
 
a sign on the side of a snow covered road: Hundreds of kilometers of snowmobile trails criss-cross the United Counties of Prescott & Russell.© Denis Babin/Radio-Canada Hundreds of kilometers of snowmobile trails criss-cross the United Counties of Prescott & Russell.

A dispute over insurance is putting the recreational snowmobile season in eastern Ontario on thin ice.

The Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC), whose members operate and maintain thousands of kilometres of trails across the province, issues liability insurance certificates to private landowners whose property the trails cross.

But this year, some landowners in this region are refusing to renew that arrangement.

The United Counties of Prescott & Russell is one of those landowners. In a French-language interview, the municipality's director of planning, Louis Prevost, said its lawyers have recommended against renewing the annual certificate.

 

According to Prevost, they're concerned the coverage would limit civil liability in the event of an accident.

Trails closed

The imbroglio has forced the Snowmobile Club of Eastern Ontario (SCEO), an OFSC member, to close 100 kilometres of its trails, about one-quarter of its network.

"Why was it acceptable last year and not this year?" asked SCEO president Kim Melbourne. "It's frustrating."

The closures punch holes in the network of interconnected routes that take sledders from one end of the Prescott & Russell to the other, Melbourne said.

"Maybe the [snowmobile club] members will be happy just going around in circles, and when they get bored they'll just turn around and go the other way," she scoffed.

The insurance impasse means popular trails through the Larose forest, a huge wooded area in the western part of the region, is off limits, as is a former rail corridor still owned by CN, which crosses the region from the Ontario-Quebec border Ottawa's city limits.

a man holding a beer bottle and a glass of wine: Plantagenet, Ont., restaurateur Charles Lamarche worries about the effect of the trail closures on his business.© Denis Babin/Radio-Canada Plantagenet, Ont., restaurateur Charles Lamarche worries about the effect of…

'It's dangerous'

"Right now, it's dangerous," said snowmobiler Sébastien Saumure, who worries the sudden trail closures will catch some by surprise.

Saumure, who lives in L'Orignal, Ont., said he's more likely to go sledding in western Quebec where the trails remain uninterrupted.

That worries Charles Lamarche, who estimates half the wintertime customers at his bar-motel in Plantagenet, Ont., are snowmobilers.

"If there's no snowmobile season, I really don't know what we're going to do," he said in French.

Instead of enjoying their sport, Melbourne and other volunteers with the club will have to spend their time posting "Trail Closed" signs along the network. She's imploring members to obey them.

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Getting bad no doubt. What happens if private individual land owners start thinking the same way after they read all of this. This is not good at all and mothership needs to turn this around before it crashes into a big  ice berg and sinks for good! 

Edited by Strong Farmer

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21 hours ago, Goody said:

It would have been nice to know before we all bought Permits for the year! It all came to light after Dec 1st! Pretty sneaky on the OFSC part!

yeah it's a big conspiracy... really... you think that?

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I am deleting my post since I made an educated guess with above information,. We will let ofsc sort this out and should be no more comments unless it is actually facts. I think admin should lock this post. It is right thing to do! 
thank-you! 

Edited by Strong Farmer

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The CBC News report posted above seem to be pretty factual although lacking a comment from OFSC Senior representatives.  It seems to confirm the basic facts being discussed here.  
 

I don’t believe that this thread should be locked but any poster can certainly delete their post at any time.

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2 hours ago, 02Sled said:

yeah it's a big conspiracy... really... you think that?

so when do u think they found this out I mean the OFSC....pretty sure the ice had not melted.

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53 minutes ago, Lep said:

so when do u think they found this out I mean the OFSC....pretty sure the ice had not melted.

 

54 minutes ago, Lep said:

so when do u think they found this out I mean the OFSC....pretty sure the ice had not melted.

Apparently the critical Court case was sometime in October that probably precipitated this situation. It seems OFSC had to revise their LUP Agreement as a consequence of the court decision.  This takes time. Then they had to send new LUP to District/Clubs which seem like they needed to get every Landowner to review and renew the new LUP.  Big Landowners likely had their lawyers get involved and maybe amendments go back and forth, etc.  This takes a lot of time and Christmas interval doesn’t help so here we are in January.  Sounds to me that we are lucky this hasn’t shut down more trails.

 

Everybody is obviously hugely disappointed, especially in those areas having major trail closures.

 

My major beef is OFSC timing and explanation of the issues bringing this about.

 

Bottom line, as it always has been, if a Landowner decides not to offer their property for trail use then game over.

 

Both the Feds and Province need to offer inducements to property owners to grant permission for public trail use.

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So if I am reading this correctly we have to pay a visit to all or landowners after this renewal.....does all our 200 clubs know this??? ….this is news to me....I sure hope I don't have to visit the pissed of landowners I have already, with the issues we have had already this season....don't know how well that may go with 2 of them.....sure hope the landscape doesn't change a lot.

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7 minutes ago, Lep said:

So if I am reading this correctly we have to pay a visit to all or landowners after this renewal.....does all our 200 clubs know this??? ….this is news to me....I sure hope I don't have to visit the pissed of landowners I have already, with the issues we have had already this season....don't know how well that may go with 2 of them.....sure hope the landscape doesn't change a lot.

The OFSC press release wasn’t perfectly clear on that and a copy referring to LUP follows.  It did say “has not been renewed...” which I have never had to do before, keeps in force unless notified by Landowner but maybe that has changed.

 

Don’t rely on my conjecture or others, your District should be giving the latest direction, if in fact procedural changes have been implemented.  It does say “in some of the affected areas” whatever that means.

 

“Land Use Permission agreements are secured by Clubs and Districts; this was again reconfirmed at the latest Board of Governors meeting in January. In some of the affected areas, access to the trails is dependent on the District and Club securing the necessary Land Use Permission (LUP) from the owners of the subject properties. Wherever an LUP has not yet been renewed or granted by the landowner, the trails remain closed. The OFSC has always and continues to consult with and assist Districts and Clubs to ensure key land use agreements do not result in personal liability exposure for our valuable volunteers.“

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On 1/23/2020 at 10:09 PM, gtserider said:

What a week disappointment on the OFSC press release same old reteric,it's up to the clubs. Most clubs don't have the ability to understand the underwriting of the LUP's .Some districts do.This is the beginning of the end.As a 50 yr snowmachiner and 30 yr volunteer including all positions on the executive. The continued lack of support from the  handsomely paid hands in Barrie has become to much.This situation should have been addressed last year when it became apparent.Shame on the payed staff in Barrie for leaving this to the clubs.

Off to do a bridge repair at dawn,this will be my last one.

This message was sent from the OFSC Executive not the President or Governor's. Dog wagging the tail again.

Edited by Doogirl69

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19 minutes ago, Doogirl69 said:

This message was sent from the OFSC Executive not the President or Governor's. Dog wagging the tail again.

The OFSC executive is the President, Vice President, Treasurer and 2nd Vice President. All members of the Board of Governors. 

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On 1/24/2020 at 1:10 PM, vooodooo said:

Who wants you to do 8 hrs max? Some of our routes were 14 hours but the new to us groomer shaves that down to under 10. Twice the HP, better front blade. better more responsive drag.

Most of our groomer operators are professional truck drivers, 13 hours is a max day by MTO standards, or farmers that run equipment for any hours needed, sometimes we are both. We are all more than capable of safely operating the groomer for this length of time, and we are all more than man enough to admit when it's time to stop, or make a phone call to swap out a driver if needed.

Where does this restriction come from?

 

As for an abstract, I'm very happy to offer mine up. Everyone operating a groomer should have an abstract done at least yearly. I ride my snowmobile around these operators...don't need a questionable cowboy on the trails with a 9 foot wide weapon.

I have no problem with doing 12 hrs shifts, my route this week was 14 with openning gates and cutting trees, Im in construction its normal to me. Its finding other people to do more, they have other jobs during the day so they cant do 12 hours. Your professional truck drivers, do they do their 13 hrs and then go jump in a groomer for 12? Cant see it

It was from our executive that wanted 8 hr shifts and I understood that came from above.

As far as the driver abstact, the clubs should be able to figure out if the guy is capable to operate the groomer or not, we dont just take a stranger off the street and say away you go.

It is not a requirement from insurance, we only require a copy of our employees license, its just more paper work for nothing, the cowboys you refer to are on the 180 hp turbo sidewinder or 850 freeride.

They are the ones with weapons, not the 10km/h tractors. They are the ones that require abstacts

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Interesting the CBC has not got a hold of the problems around the city of Ottawa yet.   I can tell you all there has been a tons of negotiations this week with  the city risk/lawyers and the OFSC/insurance vendors. We have a keen sledder on the council working OT for this.  The city is very keen to get the trails open but has to cover their butt of course.  There is no forecast when this may resolve... but we all know the local season here end  the first/second week of March due to the warming sun killing the road sections of trail. 

 

In our case(Ottawa clubs on city land)  there was no comms  this fall until I asked for the certificate of insurance in mid/late Nov.  This usually comes to me direct via the District each each year without asking.   The (same old) insurance vendor then asked for the city agreement for the first time ever... and the wording negotiations went from there.    The reference about a court case this fall may very well have been the trigger.  That part is news to me. 

 

We got 10cm of wet snow today in Ottawa west.. so the pressure mounts from the frustrated sledders as non -city land trails are mainly open now. 

 

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30 minutes ago, largedaryl said:

Interesting the CBC has not got a hold of the problems around the city of Ottawa yet.   I can tell you all there has been a tons of negotiations this week with  the city risk/lawyers and the OFSC/insurance vendors. We have a keen sledder on the council working OT for this.  The city is very keen to get the trails open but has to cover their butt of course.  There is no forecast when this may resolve... but we all know the local season here end  the first/second week of March due to the warming sun killing the road sections of trail. 

 

In our case(Ottawa clubs on city land)  there was no comms  this fall until I asked for the certificate of insurance in mid/late Nov.  This usually comes to me direct via the District each each year without asking.   The (same old) insurance vendor then asked for the city agreement for the first time ever... and the wording negotiations went from there.    The reference about a court case this fall may very well have been the trigger.  That part is news to me. 

 

We got 10cm of wet snow today in Ottawa west.. so the pressure mounts from the frustrated sledders as non -city land trails are mainly open now. 

 

Does your Club renew every Landowner Agreement every year?

 

Has the standard OFSC LUP Agreement been revised for this season or is it the exact same one that has been used for many years.

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14 minutes ago, bbakernbay said:

Does your Club renew every Landowner Agreement every year?

 

Has the standard OFSC LUP Agreement been revised for this season or is it the exact same one that has been used for many years.

You can Google it and find one that is form V2019 which most certainly has different wording concerning insurance coverage than the one that is dated 09 2016 which I think may be the "many years" one you speak of Brian.

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