Montreal, November 1st, 2017 – THE FUTURE OF SNOWMOBILING IN QUEBEC THREATENED BY LIFTING OF IMMUNITY. Bill 147, tabled on October 31st by Mrs Véronyque Tremblay, Minister for Transport, which proposes to extend the immunity until 2020, is welcomed and strongly supported by the Quebec federation of snowmobile clubs (FCMQ). The extension of the immunity to clubs further to the Langlois judgment is fundamental to ensuring the on-going survival of snowmobiling.
In 2004, via the Langlois judgment, a court decision prohibited snowmobiling on certain sections of trail and this, until such time as measures could be implemented to diminish their disturbance. In order to protect the activity of snowmobiling from lawsuits, the government introduced the necessary legal provisions required to ensure survival of the network. Article 87.1, enacted as part of Bill 121, stipulates that "No legal action founded on neighbourhood disturbances or any other damage relating to noise, odours or other contaminants may be brought". Adopted in 2006 and extended in 2010, the deadline lay less than a month away, on December 1st, 2017.
The modern snowmobile
The snowmobile industry has evolved greatly in the past 10 or more years. Snowmobiles sold in Quebec must now meet exhaust emissions requirements administered by Environment Canada. Modern snowmobiles are significantly cleaner and quieter than past models, the industry having taken the initiative to improve co-existence of snowmobiling and enthusiasts with residents and citizens. Enthusiasts today have access to clean technology engines, be it four-stroke or direct or semi-direct injection two-strokes. Furthermore, renewal of the snowmobile fleet in Quebec is rapid, ensuring an on-going rejuvenation of snowmobiles circulating on the province's trails.
Potential solutions being studied and enacted since 2004
Well aware of the fragility of snowmobiling, the FCMQ has been proactive in its quest to keep the trail network healthy. Since 2004, numerous actions have been undertaken in order to meet the objectives of safeguarding the trail network, including advanced snowmobile technology studies (sound and exhaust emissions), economic impact studies, introduction of the écoSentier environmental trail certification program, various educational campaigns promoting environmental best practices for snowmobiling, etc... These initiatives have enabled the FCMQ to accomplish a great deal, but the work is not complete. "The FCMQ has long been a leader in matters of environmental protection and stewardship for the Canadian snowmobiling community. Its sustainable development initiatives and programs, including the ecoSentier trail certification program, have not only helped to improve snowmobiling`s social and environmental footprint in Quebec, but also served as an example for snowmobilers throughout the country", states Dale Hickox, President of the Canadian Council of Snowmobile Organizations (CCSO).
The extension of the immunity will allow the FCMQ to meet its objectives of safeguarding the trail network, while respecting environmental norms and promoting good neighbourliness, along with maintaining a safe and attractive trail network for the tourism industry which generates 14,000 jobs and more than $3.27 billion in annual economic activity, while also serving as a showcase for Quebec around the world. Working in close collaboration with all ministries, whether it be in matters related to transport, the environment or tourism, the FCMQ is a proactive participant in the establishment of actions to be carried out by volunteers in order to have a trail network that is safe, clean and sustainable. 2020 is the FCMQ's target, making Bill 147 an important condition for the attainment of this objective.
About the FCMQ
The Fédération des clubs de motoneigistes du Québec, a sectorial tourism association, is a not-for-profit organisation that has been serving its members for more than 42 years. It is dedicated to the development and promotion of safe snowmobiling throughout Quebec. The FCMQ defends the interests of its 200 member clubs and their 90,000 individual members. More than 4,500 volunteers contribute in excess of 800,000 hours annually towards the maintenance of the provincial snowmobile trail network.
Fédération des clubs de motoneigistes du Québec (FCMQ)
514 252-3076 or 514 268-2649