By Adam Brazeau
CORNWALL, Ontario – After approving a request to extend a portion of road that connects to County Road 9 for ATV use, United Counties of SDG council discussed sharing more roadway with the popular off-road vehicle.
South Glengarry Mayor Ian McLeod said that ATV (all-terrain vehicle) owners are given a confusing framework as to where they’re allowed to ride in Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry.
He also stated that administrating the by-laws that control road limitations of ATVs in county areas is unclear; especially until a staff report is given to council members.
“If you were going to buy an ATV, how would you know what road you can travel?” he asked. “It’s very difficult to administer because it’s all over the place.”
McLeod said without having a road map or knowing the length of roads, it’s very hard to distinguish where they’re legally allowed to be.
He felt one answer could be opening up more roadways to ATVs. A second involved proper signage to inform ATV drivers when they’re in a non-ATV zone.
North Stormont Mayor Dennis Fife isn’t looking to share his roadways anytime soon.
“I have the same feelings as the ATV club, to get them on the trails. They’re not in favour of opening roads,” said Fife.
He feels a staff report is not the big answer, since all-terrain vehicle drivers are urged to join a local ATV club.
“It’s not necessary, because the club members know where to go,” he said. “You’re not going to have an ATV riding down the road. It’s just to get from trail to trail. They want to be in the bush.”
The North Stormont Mayor feels it should be left to ATV club representatives to bring up barriers to council.
“The clubs have their rules and the members follow them,” said Fife. “It’s a matter of the club.”
He felt given the sheer number of ATVs, if they were given permission to co-exist with cars and trucks, it would become unsafe.
South Dundas Mayor Steven Byvelds is in support of a trail network that is established by the counties and the local ATV clubs.
“I don’t see a big issue with ATVs on the county roads,” said Byvelds. “As long as they’re not interfering with the majority of people and they’re insured and legal.”
Byvelds said there are certain roads that make sense to share. He would like to see a report by the county engineer showcasing in plain view where the restricted areas are.
The South Dundas Mayor said that there are certain areas it wouldn’t be safe to use ATVs, such as the old highway system and areas surrounding Highway 401.