Here’s some explanation
The closure of a trail to Charlevoix caused a lot of headaches for snowmobilers, but thanks to the efforts of a club, the situation returned to normal on Saturday.
Snowmobilers who wanted to go to Charlevoix from Quebec had to deal with the closure of the Trans-Quebec trail # 3 which crosses the Seigneurie de Beaupré (also called the Seminary lands).
"It’s like closing Highway 20," railed Gabriel Perreault, owner of the Hilton Double Tree hotel in Quebec City, which sells snowmobile packages, when he contacted Le Journal on Thursday.
This portion of trail no. 3 is maintained by the Sapin d'Or Golden Snow Club, which has a right of way over the Seigneurie de Beaupré.
Club president André Lachance had been in charge of a resurfacer since Friday noon when Le Journal was able to speak to him 48 hours later. "The trail has been open since Saturday noon," he was happy to report.
Bridges and insurance
"We grant rights of way to the Golden Tree and the Hinterland Club. They own 18 bridges and we allow them to cross over six of our own bridges. We demanded inspections which were carried out in 2018 and 2019. The bearing capacity must be 12 tonnes to support the passage of the resurfacers, ”explains Jacques L. Laliberté, manager of the forest of the Seigneurie de Beaupré.
Ten Golden Tree bridges were therefore deemed too weak. "The Golden Tree insurer refused to cover them. Ours too as the owner of the land fund. So we couldn't allow the resurfacers to pass or risk an oil spill if a machine fell into the water. Understanding the lack of funding for these clubs, we even accepted temporary bypass routes, ”said Mr. Laliberté.
André Lachance said he has been working since September to find solutions to the multiple problems. "It was very good with the Lordship. When we explained our solutions to them, there was no problem for them, "he said.
The club literally bypassed the difficulties with ice bridges and detours. Work has been done on the last problematic bridge which is to be inspected by an engineer on Monday. But the club preferred a faster and guaranteed success solution.
"I repaired my fifth resurfacer, which we kept in reserve," explains Mr. Lachance. She stops at the bridge. Another makes the trail on the other side of the bridge. The resurfacers don't have to cross it and at five or six tonnes of capacity, the bridge is strong enough for snowmobiles. ”
The closure affected approximately 70 km of trail. Charlevoix remained accessible via the Saguenay, a 300 km detour in each direction from Quebec. The closure could have been hard felt since the 20th edition of the Grand gathering of snowmobilers will take place on January 24 and 25 at the Manoir Richelieu.
“Environmental standards are becoming more and more stringent. That's okay, we are for that, but the procedures are very long. Twenty years ago, we started off with a chum of beer and wood donated by the BMR in the sector and we were going to make a bridge. Now it can take one to two years before you can install a new structure, "said the general manager of the Fédération des clubs de motoneigistes du Québec (FCMQ), Stéphane Desroches.
"I have applied for a permit for a bridge over other private land in the past two years. I have the permit to make the bridge of the MFFP (Ministry of forests, fauna and parks), I have the permission of the owner to pass on his land, but I do not have the permit of the Ministry of Agriculture to pass on the ground (agricultural) with a mechanical shovel to make the bridge ”, specified André Lachance, for whom the problems could repeat themselves next season.
It was Le Journal who told Gabriel Perreault of the Hilton Double Tree Hotel on Sunday that the trail was open. "My receptionists still answer that it is closed and we are losing reservations. There is a lack of communication ”, he regretted.
“We lose $ 4,000 to $ 5,000 a day. People cancel or don't come. We know nothing. We weren't warned before. We went to sell packages in New York and we had to reimburse them. It was already a disastrous season, "added Mr. Perreault, who said he was also thinking of the Charlevoix traders who live on snowmobiles.
Contacted before the trail opened, Michel Bellerose, owner of Location Haute-Matawinie who recently acquired Location SM Sports, from Quebec, explained that the two-day getaway in Charlevoix was a very popular destination for people. from the Quebec region. But the detour of several hundred km "completely blocked" the sale of this package.
"We are losing a third of our turnover in the Quebec region. We have about sixty snowmobiles in the garage that don't move, ”he added.