After two snowmobiles went through the ice on Six Mile Lake in January, the Township of Georgian Bay council has put forward an idea they hope makes sledding safer.
They gave the thumbs up to have staff look into educating contractors to allow for trail shoulders up to the white line along district roads. However, they still need to get approval from the District of Muskoka.
The pair of sleds and their riders went through the ice on Six Mile Lake in Jan. A 59-year-old man from Scarborough died while a 58-year-old from Toronto was pulled from the water.
“…In light of the warm temperatures that we have experienced during this winter season, we have come to understand that our lakes are not safe for snowmobiles that are riding outside of marked trails,” writes Coun. Kristian Graziano in a report to council on Feb. 13.
He adds in his report that sledding on bare asphalt can be dangerous. “It is essential that the trails are maintained and groomed, hence why local snowmobile associations pay so much attention to trail grooming during the winter time,” writes Graziano. “Damage or accidents can result from poorly groomed trails or from collisions between motorists and snowmobiles due to snowmobiles riding on asphalt in lanes that are otherwise assigned to cars.”
He says that by allowing snowmobiles to run on trails parallel to roadways is safer. Graziano believes sledders could use alternative routes that direct them to unsafe lake ice. In turn, he writes litigation claims against the township could arise. “Mitigating such risks while ensuring the safety of our snowmobile community is the impetus for this motion,” says Graziano.