Windsor

Metal detecting hobbyists back in action after permit process passes

Metal detector users in Windsor can finally get back to doing what they love after city council voted to move forward with a permit process.

An insurance requirement was the most recent hold up in the process.

Jack Lewis, former president of the Sun Parlour Treasure Seekers, says conversations with the city seemed like they were making progress.  (Sanjay Maru/CBC)

Metal detector users in Windsor can finally get back to doing what they love after city council voted to move forward with a permit process.

In 2018, Windsor city council directed the parks and recreation department to work with the Sun Parlour Treasure Seekers for a permit process that worked for both parties. Jack Lewis, former president of the group, said those conversations seemed like they were making progress. 

An insurance requirement was the most recent hold up in the process.

"Despite having a permit process ready in place, our members have not been able to use the parks for metal detecting since 2017," said Lewis, adding that members are frustrated with how long the process has taken. 

In March, the group learned they would have to get insurance for their activities. Though the group was required by the city to obtain a permit, the city wouldn't provide them with insurance.

"Detecting organizations in the U.S. and U.K. were contacted and none had ever heard of requiring individual insurance," said Lewis. The group contacted a number of insurers, but were declined coverage by most of those groups. 

Lewis said many other users of city parks, including cyclists and bike park users are not required to obtain their own insurance.

Dana Paladino, deputy solicitor for the City of Windsor, said it's typical to ask for insurance anytime someone is potentially "disturbing" city property. Administration said they expected it would be a "nominal" cost for the group to obtain insurance. 

The metal detecting permit is free but does require proof that the metal detecting user has training and will adhere to a code of ethics, which includes making sure no lasting damage is done to city parks, in addition to requiring insurance. 

During Monday's council meeting, Ward 1 Coun. Fred Francis said the entire process has been a "solution looking for a problem."

"I don't know what to ask administration for moving forward," said Francis. "I'm all sorts of confused. It's something we've always done and it's never been an issue."

Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens said council could choose what level of risk to accept, including accepting all risk if they wanted. 

Council voted to move forward with the permit process without insurance restrictions attached during Monday's meeting. 

More than 90 of the city's parks have "high archaeological potential," which means there's a high likelihood that archaeologically-significant material might be found in those parks, according to the city.

With files from Angelica Haggert

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