RM of Shellbrook site of test drive for land use app
PRINCE ALBERT -- Rural land owners in the Rural Municipality of Shellbrook look forward to testing a new web application designed to connect land users with landowners.
“It allows landowners and basically anybody to give permission via this app to access or not to access their property. From what we seen from the demo of the app, it looks like a very good tool as long as it gets used,” Coun. Derwin Joelson said.
The RM was chosen as the testing grounds for the prototype because of its diversity. It borders a national park and two reserves. It includes community pastures and a lake with a recreation area.
Rural municipalities and land owners have expressed concerns to the province about trespassing. The province introduced the Trespass to Property Amendment Act, 2018 and The Trespass to Property Consequential Amendments Act, 2018. The bills have received third reading but aren’t expected to become law until 2020.
This legislation clarifies existing laws and makes it illegal for anyone to set-foot on private land without the consent of the landowner. The onus is on the land user to secure permission from the land owner for activities such as snowmobiling, hunting and berry picking.
“It’s only as good as those who use it,” Joelson said. “Are we still going to have people just go out willy-nilly trespassing. Of course there probably will be. My hope is that it curbs.”
A Saskatchewan based tech company, SaskLander, is developing the app to allow the public to connect with land owners without the tasking search of RM maps to find phone numbers or visit them at home on the their home quarter. For some land that is owned by people outside of the area, permission is difficult to obtain.
SaskLander hopes to have the demonstration phase in early spring 2020.
“We want to avoid your need in to walk up to someone’s door, knocking on it as a complete stranger. We would prefer if it was a little bit easier to know who wants access to your land, why they want access to your land and for you to have control over that,” co-founder Aldo Scribante said.
The amendments are in response to complaints of an increase in rural crime, crop damage and other issues with recreational land use of private land.
Joelson has heard concerns in his area as well. Some people this year are worried about snowmobilers, quads and other vehicles wrecking swaths of crop that are left in the fields that aren’t yet combined. There is also the risk of spreading disease between crops.
“This year you’ve got a lot of crop still out in the fields. And that maybe stipulated on the app, livestock at large or something like that.”
A colour coded system in the app shows the level of permissions.
The RM may also be able to use the app to show road conditions, Joelson said.
Correction: A previous version of this story stated the RM of Shellbrook includes two reserves. In fact, it borders them. CTV News regrets the error.