Snowmobiling alive in Quebec despite fight over land use
Provincial government and farmers at odds
Story by Staff, Dec. 06, 2010Email a friend Print Friendly RSS
According to the Quebec federation of snowmobile clubs (FCMQ), however, snowmobiling is still very much alive in Quebec this winter.
“We want to assure everyone that that there will be snowmobiling in Quebec this winter, and a vast network of trails will be open across the province,” says FCMQ President Mario Côté.
The FCMQ is eager for both the province and the UPA to meet and negotiate an end to the conflict as soon as possible.
“Since the beginning of the conflict, despite the dismay at our 90,000 members and 4,000 volunteers being held hostage, we have abided by the wishes of the UPA out of respect for landowners, valued partners for over 36 years” says Côté. “We cannot help, however, but question the wisdom of the farming community jeopardizing the activities and benefits of one of its closest allies in the economic development of rural Quebec.”
“This pressure tactic is placing our clubs in peril and affects all those who rely on, either directly or indirectly, the $ 1.5 billion of annual economic activity generated in the province. It risks causing significant long-term damage to our tourism industry, possibly even leading to the closure of numerous businesses that have come to rely on the revenues generated by snowmobiling.”
To help avoid a situation like this from rearing its head in the future, the FCMQ is hoping for a permanent solution for Quebec’s snowmobile trail network
“On behalf of the entire snowmobile industry, the FCMQ is calling on the provincial government to act in order to establish a stable trail network that will shelter us from such complex and damaging situations in the future,” says Côté.
As the conflict continues, the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC) says it is receiving calls from Quebec riders looking to ride on Ontario. The OFSC is recommending that Quebec snowmobilers be directed to Districts 1, 11, 14, and 15 which are close to Quebec and offer direct trail connections. As well, these districts have a larger French-speaking population.