NOTO works with MNRF to bring changes to Commercial Outpost Camp LUP Operational Bulletin

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NOTO works with MNRF to bring changes to Commercial Outpost Camp Land Use Permit Operational Bulletin

As a result of NOTO’s efforts on behalf of outpost camp operators to resolve issues surrounding LUP transfers and work permit issues, NOTO was invited to review the MNRF Commercial Outpost Camp Operational Bulletin. This internal document is in place to provide guidance to MNRF District staff regarding land use permits for outpost camps. It had not been updated in quite some time. It was felt that this document and others need to be updated to better reflect the changes in the tourism industry as well as the new generation of MNRF staff in District offices.
The review began this April with MNRF and a NOTO Task Force made up of outpost camp operators from across Northern Ontario. This review was very much a collaboration to address challenges both MNRF and the industry have been facing.
Here is an overview of the areas that have been addressed:

  • Clarification regarding eligibility requirements of LUP applicant. The term corporation does not require a business to be incorporated. Applicants need to show proof that they are a registered business and that their business purpose is to deliver tourism products/services.
  • LUP acquisition requirements will continue to include the submission of a tourism plan from application. The need for this is to ensure that the applicant is in fact intending to operate a tourism business on the site. We suggested that the level of detail be reduced but MNRF is not currently planning to review that document. We did reach agreement that MNRF will provide more background to applicants to clarify why and how the information will be useful.
  • There will be no set size limit on cabins. It will be left up to camp operators to determine their level of investment on facilities based on the tourism product they wish to offer and the business plan they have.
  • Clarification for work/construction on sites. Authorization to conduct work or improvements on a LUPs or Crown Leases will be authorized by a PLA Officer Letter of Authority, not a work permit.
    • When a Letter of Authority is required: new structures, enlargement of structures (additions), septic installations, saunas, storage sheds, or total replacement of a structure either larger smaller or the same size.
    • No authorization is required: where the work is general maintenance of existing infrastructure, i.e. replacing deck of the same size, replacing or maintaining walkways, replacing shingles, painting, repairing footings, and replacing doors or windows. Maintenance of property: brushing, minor leveling of walkways and property, replacing decking on a dock and building a fire pit. If the work does not include an increase to the building(s) size, new building construction or extensive site disturbance (septic field), generally a letter of authority (work permit) is not required. 
  • Acknowledgement that in order to avoid disruption in operations for tourism businesses, MNRF staff must make every effort to resolve issues, process applications, and issue permits in a timely manner.
  • NOTO will be consulted on any significant future changes

A constant theme in our discussions was the inconsistencies from East to West and from District to District. We have been assured that consistency is a major objective of MNRF moving forward.
The final document was circulated to MNRF staff in August.
We will continue to monitor the application of these changes. In order for us to do this effectively, we will rely on our members to bring concerns to our attention. Thank you to the outpost camp operators who have brought issues to us and especially to those who participated on our LUP Task Force. Your time and input is/was much appreciated.

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