Private Roads – Who’s In Charge?

What FOCA sees: Local committees or road groups are an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to private roads. Residents using these non-municipal routes to access their properties have a common interest and a shared commitment to the roads’ condition, and safety. Ensuring uninterrupted access, fair use and sharing of the costs of these important community assets means planning ahead and ensuring everyone is included in the decision making.

Having up to date road-related bylaws can ensure there are clear rules about the process for deciding who makes decisions about the road, and who pays for what.

By agreeing to a decision-making process, everyone can be assured their interests are fairly represented. Done in advance, without a burning issue or personalities in the mix – gives everyone a common framework for decision-making and for resolving disputes.

Related news items:

March 2022 – Cottage Q&A: Can you post ‘No Trespassing’ signs? (Cottage Life)

Nov.30, 2021 – Cottage country snow plows are frozen in place. Why Haliburton roads may be a nightmare this winter (Toronto Star)

November 2019 – Council weighs fairness of plowing selected cottage roads (Timmins) Also, Timmins has a process for ‘elevating’ non-serviced roads to become serviced; download a copy of the 2016 Charland & Bertrand Road Winter plowing report (PDF, 14 pages)

November 2019 – If passed as part of the government’s proposed Bill 132, “Better for People, Smarter for Business” Act, the Ministry of Transportation would set out specific requirements in the regulations for a municipality to permit off-road vehicles (ORV) on their roads. According to the Province, this will be done in consultation with industry, the ORV riding community, municipalities and enforcement services. Read more.

June 2017 – Can I Allow a Friend to Use Shared Private Road in Cottage Country? (Toronto Star)

March 2017 – Snow Removal Pricing – what’s legal and what’s not (Government of Canada)

Snow Blower Photo from Randy FrenchOver the years, many cottage road associations have found that the easiest and fairest way to pay the annual cost of private road maintenance is for every property owner to pay equally.

One common problem arises when there are people that use the road differently and how to reflect this different value of the road to different users. Some will want to use the road year ’round; others only access the road seasonally.

The budget and maintenance impacts of seasonally maintained versus year-round use needs to be clearly communicated and the implications for every resident understood.

A good set of bylaws will recognize the implications of road maintenance, and snow plowing, and will specify exactly how money collected for the road is to be spent.

Do you have a solid and functional set of road bylaws? Share them with others by emailing them to FOCA (No names will be used).

See our additional road resource webpages:

NOTE: FOCA cannot provide specific advice on individual road problems, but can act as a sounding board and clearing house for general questions related to roads. Please email FOCA  if we can be of any assistance, or to share your road success story.

Terry ReesPrivate Roads – Who’s In Charge?