Snowmobilers can travel on ch Lac Curley, through Gatineau Park for a final season, unless the courts decide otherwise.
The mayor of the municipality of Pontiac, Eddie McCann, confirmed that agreement was reached on 11 January with the National Capital Commission (NCC) on the passage of snowmobiles in this area, near Lac La Pêche.
Last December, however, the NCC announced its intention to close down the trail, while the municipality stated its wish to open it.
"We agreed that snowmobiles can move this season on the trail. But if we have no agreement for next season or if the cause is still before the courts, we can not open the trail in 2012-2013. Each party has given in a bit to reach this agreement. For our part, we maintain that Curley Lake Road is a municipal road, even if not used by cars, and located in the heart of Gatineau Park, and even if the NCC claims that it owns the road", said Mr. McCann.
An agreement for now
The Senior Vice-President, Environment, Capital Lands and Parks, at the NCC, Michelle Comeau, confirmed the signing of an agreement, even if snowmobiles have no place in Gatineau Park. "Snowmobiling is not an activity consistent with the plan of Gatineau Park, or its conservation plan. We've been trying since 2005 to encourage snowmobilers to find another route for their traill, but it did not work. We still hope to come to an agreement with them," said Ms. Comeau, saying it is too early to discuss a possible legal battle in this case.
The dispute is reminiscent of that which opposed the NCC and the municipality of La Pêche for several years, about the use of a portion of Kennedy Road, which passes through Gatineau Park, between Wakefield and Masham. Closed for decades, and converted to a cross-country ski trail, Kennedy Road had been reopened by the municipality as a snowmobile trail. The NCC challenged this in court and, ultimately, won the case. The old road is again a cross-country ski trail.