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ed note we hope all will sign on to this pro bill 239 petition
Below please find the original Email
and then
a rational statement for those who wish a summary of issues
and a copy of bill 239

Date: Tue, 11 Mar 2003 09:02:07 -0500
From: Rick Meridew <>
Subject: Pro Bill 239 Petition

To all SGKH Members

Our petition is off to a great start!

Since going "live" yesterday (Monday) afternoon we have over 200 signatures as of 9:00 AM this morning - Tuesday.

The hosting service ( shows that our petition is in the TOP 25 for activity yesterday.

Lets keep up the momentum.

Please be sure your members are notified of the petition, not to mention your fishing buddies, the bridge club, friends at work, those who you've had up to the cottage, Aunt Mabel and Uncle Art, and other groups with similar interests - everyone who supports conservation, the protection of the environment AND traditional rights and activities.

Encourage thoughtful comments that mention your connection to the site or why you support Bill 239.


SGKH Site with background information and copy of Bill 239:



Rick Meridew
SGKH Co-Chair

March 15, 2003
Hi folks,
Please Support Bill 239

Values that some property owners in the Kawartha Highlands have been fighting hard to protect for the last five years, and obsessively for the last two years,  are:  i) Free Use Policy Privileges and  ii) property access rights.  This area is now generally referred to as the Kawartha Highlands Signature Site (KHSS).

Free Use Policy privileges allow Ontarians the unencumbered use of Crown land controlled under the Public Lands Act (PLA) for purposes of general recreation (trails, camping, canoeing, hunting, fishing, camping, etc.).  These traditional privileges are marvelous advantages accruing to Ontarians and they should not be compromised unless absolutely necessary. Section 28 of the PLA provides ample provision for controls to prevent abuses on an - affordable, site-specific, when, where and as required basis.

Property access rights/privileges include roads, trails and utility corridors.

Both of these values are seriously compromised for properties surrounded by Crown land having a Provincial Park designation.  This would be the outcome if the recommendations of the politically appointed Local Stakeholders' (advisory) Committee (LSC) were implemented. The LSC has demonstrated almost no regard for about 2,000 private property owners in the KHSS area.  Incidentally, as far as we know, none of the LOCAL Stakeholders Committee members owns property within or contiguous with the proposed KHSS boundary???

In order to mitigate concerns in this regard an intensive campaign was started on August 25th, 2001 to stop the park designation from being made right to property lot lines. "Buffer zones" were requested between private properties and any portion of the KHSS to be designated a Provincial Park. Free Use Policy Privileges and property access rights would be preserved for adjacent property owners in these buffer zones.

The so-called Local Stakeholders' Committee (LSC) refused to recommend buffer zones for some properties in the KHSS, but did recommend them for others. The rationale of the LSC made no sense to those who were denied the "buffer zones", since they had requested them for the same reasons as those property owners who received them.

Persons working on this problem were successful in getting both municipal councils in the area, and all cottager and ratepayer associations in the area, except one, (about twenty groups in total) to request buffer zones.  The one exception was the Catchacoma Cottagers' Association (CCA).  The CCA executive has behaved very irregularly with regard to KHSS issues.

On December 12th, 2002,  property owners scored a big win - the Minister of Natural Resources introduced Bill 239 which would make the KHSS a Recreation Reserve (RR), the first  time this progressive land use designation would be used. Theoretically it could provide the safeguards that motivated the requests for buffer zones.

Section 4, which states the proposed Recreation Reserve would be controlled under the Public Lands Act, would protect the Free Use Policy Privileges.  The intent of Section 7 is to preserve whatever access rights/privileges (roads, trails and utility corridors) we had prior to the Lands for Life and Ontario's Living Legacy initiatives (i.e. prior to 1997).   Section 5(3) provides for "utilization zones" which can provide even more control, if required, than Section 28 of the PLA, which is provided for in Bill 239, Section 5(4).  In fact, utilization zones could be used, on a site-specific basis, to provide controls that are essentially identical to controls imposed in provincial parks. But property rights need not be compromised and the impact on Free Use Policy Privileges could be minimized using this mechanism.

Bill 239 (the RRA) was a huge surprise to all concerned, and a very pleasant surprise to some local property owners.  Finally someone, Minister Ouellette, was listening to the vast majority of local property owners (and their representatives) who are without doubt the most affected stakeholders.

The Bill is not perfect but improvements can be incorporated into it.

Unfortunately, members of the politically appointed LSC became upset because their  recommendations were rejected. Since December 12th  its members have been stirring up radical environmental groups,  some Liberals and some NDPers, to try to force Bill 239 to be withdrawn.

These groups/persons, for example, have informed the public that Bill 239 has converted a "wildlife sanctuary" into "the largest hunt camp in Ontario south of Algonquin Park" - a preposterous falsehood. In fact, Bill 239 does nothing to significantly alter or enhance the opportunities for hunters.  These radicals, including some LSC members, are trying to reduce the important environmental and property rights issues at stake to the level of petty, partisan, pre-election politics.

The KHSS area was never planned to be a wildlife sanctuary.  All LSC members know, or ought to know, this fact.  Of course, you can imagine the reaction of some RADICAL environmentalist groups to this outrageous claim.  What should have been a rational, win-win discussion focusing on property rights and environmental issues has become an overly emotional attack on hunters, snowmobilers, other outdoor recreationists,  Minister Ouellette and about 2,000 private property owners.

The most significant aspect of Bill 239 is that it preserves property rights and Free Use Policy Privileges to a degree.  Every person who owns property, or believes in property rights, should sign it.  The recommendations of the LSC would confiscate property rights/and privileges on a grand scale.

For example, about 200 properties, the last 10% of the roughly 2000 properties in the area, might never be able to get a road.  Eleven properties, including eight on the former Ketchecum Hunt Club property on Lake Catchacoma, might not even be able to get hydro. This would suddenly and most unfairly curtail the opportunities for property owners to even apply to build a road, which was clearly a permitted right/privilege when the subject properties were purchased from the Crown.

To counteract the actions of the "RADICAL environmental groups" and the LSC, a group known as The Stakeholders Groups of the Kawartha Highlands (SGKH), supported by many, has launched a petition to promote and support Bill 239.

I am asking you to support our attempt to protect important traditional rights and privileges that the LSC is recommending should be needlessly confiscated.  Please sign the petition, separately of course if you're married, and get as many of your friends, relatives, bridge partners or whatever to express their support for this very important issue.

Please review the copy of Bill 239 attached and check out the petition website at

Please help us out on this one. Email me at if you desire more information.

By the way, I learned a new maxim the other day:

 "If your government is big enough to give you everything you want, then it's big enough to take away everything you have."

Where it reads "Ministry of Government Services Act" in Section 9 of Bill 239, read "expropriation", and this seems brutally frank. However, the reality is that this possibility is also provided for in the Provincial Parks Act (indirectly).  In fact, it applies anywhere the government decides to exercise the option, so Bill 239 does not change our status in this regard.


Gary B. Faulkner

Bill 239 2002
An Act to establish
a recreation reserve
Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario, enacts as follows:
1.  In this Act,
"recreation reserve" means lands that are established as a recreation reserve under section 2.
Establishment of recreation reserves
2.  (1)  The lands referred to in subsection (2) are hereby established as a recreation reserve for the purpose of ensuring that the lands are used solely for recreational and non-industrial commercial activities in accordance with section 5.
Kawartha Highlands
(2)  Subsection (1) applies to lands known as the Kawartha Highlands and more particularly described in the regulations made under this Act.
Lands excluded
(3)  A recreation reserve established under this Act shall not include any lands,
(a) that have been patented under or by authority of any statute;
(b) that have been leased under or by authority of any statute, regulation or order in council respecting mines, minerals or mining so long as the lease remains valid; and
(c) that have been staked and recorded in accordance with the Mining Act so long as the claim remains valid.
3.  A recreation reserve is under the control and management of the Minister of Natural Resources.
Public lands
4.  (1)  Lands that are part of a recreation reserve are deemed to be public lands for the purposes of the Public Lands Act and are subject to the provisions of that Act and of the regulations made under that Act.
(2)  If there is a conflict between a provision under the Public Lands Act and a provision under this Act, the latter prevails.
Permitted uses, recreational
5.  (1)  Recreational activities may be carried out in a recreation reserve in accordance with the law, including the following recreational activities:
1. Hunting and fishing.
2. Camping.
3. Canoeing and boating.
4. Snowmobiling.
5. Hiking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Same, commercial uses
(2)  Non-industrial commercial activities may be carried out in a recreation reserve in accordance with the law, including the following commercial activities:
1. Commercial fur harvest.
2. Guided hunting.
3. Wild rice harvest.
4. Bait fish harvest.
Designating utilization zones
(3)  In managing a recreation reserve, the Minister may from time to time define areas in the reserve in which certain of the activities permitted under subsections (1) and (2) are not to be carried out or which are to be reserved as areas in which only some of those activities are to be carried out.
(4)  The Minister may cause notices or signs to be posted in the reserve for the purpose of indicating to the public the location of the areas referred to in subsection (3) and either the activities that are not permitted in the area or the activities for which the area is reserved, as the case may be.
Prohibited uses
6.  The following activities shall not be carried out in a recreation reserve:
1. Prospecting, staking mining claims, developing mineral interests or working mines.
2. Commercial forest harvesting.
3. Water power development.
4. Aggregate extraction.
5. Peat extraction.
Right of access
7.  Nothing in this Act shall limit or in any way diminish a right of access to or through land that is part of a recreation reserve where that right was created before the day the recreation reserve was established under section 2.
Authorized occupation of land
8.  Nothing in this Act shall affect any right to occupy land that is part of a recreation reserve where the right to occupy the land was granted under the Public Lands Act before the day the recreation reserve was established under section 2 and is exercised in accordance with the terms and conditions contained in the instrument granting the right or in a provision under the Public Lands Act.
Acquisition of land
9.  Land may be acquired under the Ministry of Government Services Act for the purposes of developing and establishing future recreation reserves or of expanding an existing recreation reserve.
Disposition of land
10.  Land that is part of a recreation reserve shall not be transferred in fee simple by grant of letters patent or by any other means.
11.  The Minister may establish and charge,
(a) fees for entrance into a recreation reserve of persons, vehicles, boats or aircraft;
(b) fees for the use of a recreation reserve or of any facility or service in the reserve; and
(c) fees and rentals for any licence, permit, lease or other right issued, made or given in respect of a recreation reserve.
12.  The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations describing the lands that are to be included in the Kawartha Highlands Recreation Reserve for the purposes of subsection 2 (2).
13.  This Act comes into force on a day to be named by proclamation of the Lieutenant Governor.
Short title
14.  The short title of this Act is the Recreation Reserve Act, 2002.
The Bill establishes a recreation reserve in the Kawartha Highlands. The lands comprised in the recreation reserve are to be described in the regulations but shall not include any lands that are excluded under subsection 2 (3).
A recreation reserve is to be used for recreational activities such as hunting and fishing, canoeing and snowmobiling and for non-industrial commercial activities such as commercial fur harvesting and guided hunting. Areas in the reserve may be defined by the Minister and set aside for particular recreational or commercial activities. Industrial activities are prohibited in a recreation reserve.
The Minister may charge fees for the use of the lands within the reserve.