February 15, 2019 7:45 pm
Updated: February 15, 2019 8:53 pm

Province seeks solutions for proposed Trespass Act changes

Saskatchewan's trespass laws have hunters worried about accessing land. The province believes there's a solution, but don't know what ti looks like. Cami Kepke reports.

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Proposed changes to Saskatchewan’s Trespass Act has garnered mixed reaction since it was announced in fall of 2018.

The new legislation would require people to get permission from land owners before they go on private property.

Under current regulations, it’s the land owner’s responsibility to fence, post land, or have “no trespassing” signs.

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“We’re just reversing that onus to say that regardless of whether a land owner posts their land that the hunter, the person that’s wanting to access the land, it’s their obligation to go out and make sure they have consent of the landowner before they’re on the land,” Environment Minister Dustin Duncan said.

READ MORE: Sask. government wants prior consent to access rural land in Trespass Act changes

“We’ve heard from a number that have said they’re going to hang up their guns now,” Saskatchewan Wildlife Federation (SWF) executive director Darrell Crabbe said.

‘It’s really difficult right now to find the contact for landowners. That’s getting increasingly difficult because of the decrease in the number of land lines. Everyone’s gone to a cell phone so you can’t look up anyone’s name.”

The province believes a solution is out there – it just doesn’t know what it looks like yet.

“We think there must be some kind of applicable technology solution to help that out,”Duncan explained.

Duncan acknowledged the tensions as he addressed the crowd at the second day of the 90th SWF convention in Moose Jaw, Friday.

He said Innovation Saskatchewan will announce a public challenge to find a strategy in the coming weeks.

READ MORE: Sask. government finds majority support prior consent in trespass survey

“We’ve done this on rural crime in the past and what it really looks at is; ‘Here’s the issue that we have. Try to find a platform or a technology solution – whether it be web based or app based,” Duncan explained.

The person with the winning submission will get $10,000 and a six-week residency within the ministry to help develop the platform.

The legislation itself will remain on hold until it goes before assembly in the spring.

In the meantime, groups like the SWF and Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities hope they will have further chances to give input.

 

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