New app connects rural owners with those wanting to access their land

A new web-based application that will let hunters, bird watchers and other outdoor enthusiasts know if they are allowed on private property is now being tested in the Rural Municipality of Shellbrook.

The SaskLander prototype app connects recreational users of private land with property owners.

Saskatoon business Western Heritage developed the prototype as part of the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities and Innovation Saskatchewan's Rural Property Access Innovation Challenge.

The app is a response to amendments to the Trespass to Property Act that were made earlier this year.

The act now requires a person to get permission from rural property owners before entering their land.

Matt Garand/CBC News

"The web app gives landowners the ability to specify which activities can take place on their private property and when," SaskLander co-founder Aldo Scribante said in a news release.

"SaskLander uses a map interface to show all potential land users what land is available for use. It also gives them the ability, inside the app, to ask the property owner for permission to access that land."

FSIN opposed to trespassing law changes

The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations has been a vocal opponent to the trespassing law changes.

Last year, FSIN chief Bobby Cameron called the changes unconstitutional and said they violated the treaty rights of Indigenous people, which he said trump provincial laws.

North Battleford-based lawyer Eleanore Sunchild, who represented the family of Colten Boushie, also expressed concerns about the changes and said they could stoke racial tensions in the province.

The pilot project in Shellbrook is expected to wrap up before the end of 2020.