DAN CEARNS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, for The Standard
KAWARTHA LAKES: While councillors heard from a number of residents opposed to expanding All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) use on local roads, they instead decided to approve several new ATV routes on rural roads.
At a Special Committee of the Whole meeting on Tuesday, November 16th, Kawartha Lakes councillors endorsed new ATV routes in Pontypool, Omemee, Janetville and Cameron. As it was a Committee of the Whole meeting, the routes still need to be ratified at a council meeting on Tuesday, December 14th.
If ratified, these routes will be part of a two-year pilot project.
The only ATV route not approved, as part of the off-road vehicle use of city roads task force recommendations, was in Bobcaygeon.
Mayor Andy Letham said he thinks this route “makes absolutely no sense whatsoever” because, unlike the other routes, this one does not link to any trail.
“There’s no trail linkage here; there’s no road access to link to any trail network,” he said. “I’m really struggling with the logic of this route.”
Earlier in the meeting, councillors heard from a number of residents opposed to these local routes.
Citing a survey of Bobcaygeon residents, which she said had a “higher than normal response,” Ann Adare said, “the results were not in favour of [off-road vehicles] on Bobcaygeon roads.”
Richard Fedy stated while the City believes this initiative will create local economic growth, “not all businesses in Bobcaygeon view ATVs on our streets as beneficial.”
William Steffler called putting off-road vehicles on city roads “beyond irresponsible,” noting a number of ATV injuries and fatalities in nearby communities.
Heather Stauble said there has been, “no risk or safety assessment done on any of these routes.”
The potential climate change impact was also brought up as a resident concern.
“We must not increase the use of gas-powered ATVs,” Peter Petrosoniak stated.
Go online to www.kawarthalakes.ca and look at the agendas and minutes section to see all the recommended routes.