Council gets it right on ATV issue

By Lindsay Advocate

Barring an outstanding procedural issue that came before council at their Sept. 21 meeting, Kawartha Lakes City Council has decided not to allow ORVs (also called ATVs) on Lindsay’s streets to connect a north-south trail system. Instead, the city will look at a bypass around Lindsay.

Council got it right.

An ORV Task Force, chaired by Councillor Pat Dunn, had been asked to find a route that meant ORV owners wouldn’t have to put the machines on their trucks or in a trailer to take them farther up north.

That may be an inconvenience, but the original suggested path would have seen many Lindsay streets directly affected: Logie, King, Wellington, Victoria, Angeline and more. As well, all streets would have been affected since the proposal would have permitted ORV owners to drive from wherever they live to get to the linking roads.

Once town residents caught on to what was about to happen, a grassroots group called Keep Our Roads Safe in Lindsay formed, soliciting residents’ opinions and encouraging them to vote against the proposed route in a city-commissioned poll. In the end, 66 per cent of Lindsay residents who voted in that poll opposed an ATV route in Lindsay. 

Dunn tried to paint this as a vocal minority, and he also wondered if the outcome would set a precedent if “every time we don’t want to make a decision we have a poll.”

We find this statement at odds with Dunn’s former candidacy with the Reform Party, a party that believed that more referenda were needed to make decisions. In other words, it advocated for public opinion to be sought out more often, rather than letting a political body lead.

Councillor Ron Ashmore appeared upset at council, alleging that “secret deals” had been made among councillors (ostensibly Councillors Andrew Veale and Doug Elmslie, who led on this issue in the September committee of the whole meeting) .

But as Mayor Andy Letham said, “two councillors talking is not deal making.” Councillors should in fact be collaborating on a regular basis, not just grandstanding at monthly council meetings.

Lindsay is a growing town with increasingly busy streets. Allowing ORVs on them would have been unsafe and unnecessary.

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