New multi-purpose trail to replace Curley Lake Road

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Added: Thu, 08/30/2018 - 12:00am
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Allyson Beauregard

MUNICIPALITY OF PONTIAC – After a heated debate in the municipality concerning the closure of the Curley Lake Road snowmobile trail, council unanimously resolved to construct a recreational trail for snowmobiles, horse riders and other tourists along Eardley-Masham Road as an alternative to Curley Lake Road during their monthly meeting, August 14.
With Curley Lake Road closed to vehicular traffic and in very poor condition, the National Capital Commission (NCC), who claims to own a portion of the road, is hoping to reclaim it eventually, which would end snowmobile access. However, according to Mayor Joanne Labadie, the resolution does not
mean negotiations concerning the transfer to the NCC have ended.
“Curley Lake Road has not been transferred to the NCC, nor has a date or conditions been set out to do so,” she said, noting the resolution is to proceed with the creation of the new trail in collaboration with various partners such
as the Pontiac Snowmobile Drivers Association (PSDA), NCC, Ministry of Transport, and the municipality of La Pêche.
The project is only in the early stages. “Although the PSDA has begun the ground work with an NCC biologist to identify a potential route along the new corridor, no
further work has been done with the various partners. All parties were waiting for
the municipal resolution to commence the planning stage of the project,” explained Labadie, noting the first planning session will be September 11.
In the meantime, Curley Lake Road will remain open to snowmobilers at their own risk while negotiations continue and an alternative route is available. “The resolution clearly states our municipal council’s position that Curley Lake Road will remain in use by the PSDA until an alternate route is operational,” concluded Labadie. 
The issue first arose in early July when the PSDA published a social media post expressing concern about the closure of the Curley Lake Road snowmobile trail that links the municipality to Masham and Wolf Lake. They stressed the negative effect the closure would have on winter tourism, making the Pontiac a dead end to the rest of the region if there was no immediate alternative. Several derogatory comments made toward Labadie in response to the post prompted the municipality to request the Sûreté du Québec to attend their council meeting on July 10. 
The PDSA refused to comment on the issue.