Group encourages Lindsay residents to vote ‘no’ to allowing ATVs on town streets

By Lindsay Advocate

Should ATVs be allowed on Lindsay streets in proposed route by council?

A group of concerned citizens known as Keep Our Roads Safe in Lindsay is encouraging town residents to vote ‘no’ in allowing ATVs on town streets. 

Last month, an ATV (also known as ORV) route through Lindsay was put on hold by council to get more input after criticism that residents were not notified. The citizen’s group also feels the previous survey by the ORV Task Force was slanted toward increasing ATV access. 

That’s why a new city survey has been launched by council, which asks just two questions — do you live in Lindsay and do you support the ATV route?

The survey will serve as a decision-making tool to gather input from residents most directly impacted by the proposed route.  The survey is open until July 30 and can be done in person at the Lindsay Service Centre, 180 Kent St., Lindsay, by phone 705-324-9411 Ex 1339,  or online here

New Residents’ Petition

A group of concerned citizens in Lindsay has also launched a new Residents’ petition /online- petitions/survey_tools/online- petition-005 on the city’s website, which will be open until August 25th

“We appreciate Council extending the consultation process,” said Bill Steffler, a Lindsay resident, adding “we want to make sure that the facts and risks identified by staff and Dr. Natalie Bocking’s advice against expanding ATV access on roads is known and understood by the public.” Bocking is the medical officer of health for the local health unit and presented to council her concerns with expanding ATV access on roads.

The petition provides links to the advice from staff and the medical officer of health to council. The results of the residents’ petition will be presented to council on Sept. 7 along with the City’s survey results and any emails and deputations.

Bocking reported that the ATV hospitalization rate in Kawartha Lakes is five times the Ontario rate and increased significantly over five years. She also reported that where ATVs are allowed on roads, “there are higher rates of fatalities and serious injuries for ORV riders on roadways compared to off-roadways.” 

The Kawartha Lakes ATV hospitalization rate is five times the Ontario rate and rose from 33 per cent to 61 per cent relative to the overall HKPR ATV hospitalizations, which includes both Northumberland and Haliburton Counties, between 2015 and 2019. 

ATV/ORV consultation process unclear

“Unfortunately the process has been somewhat confusing and, for some, frustrating. When going door to door common responses have been, ‘I didn’t know about this’ and/or ‘I tried to vote no, but I’m not good with online stuff,’” added Steffler.

If people do have trouble filling out the survey online, they should contact the city at 705-324-9411 ext. 1339 to fill out the survey by phone or the mayor ‘s office at 705-324-9411 ext. 1310 to let them know and request assistance.

“Going door to door gives a much better read on attitudes than any online survey. The overwhelming response is a resounding no to ATV’s on Lindsay streets,” he says. He adds that the city’s liability and quality of life are other primary reasons for the no vote.

“This is not a surprise. It was an overwhelming no in 2010 to 2012 when the issue was previously on the table. I urge council to end this sooner rather than later. Maintain the current bylaw and get on with the city’s Master Plans.” 

Other proposals to expand ATV access in Bobcaygeon, on rural roads and any additional roads in Lindsay have been referred back to the ORV Task Force meeting in September with a report back to council in the last quarter of 2021. 

Peterborough, Cobourg, Port Hope, Bowmanville, Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax, do not allow ATVs.  Gravenhurst, Bracebridge, and Huntsville, towns that rely heavily on tourism, do not allow ATVs.  North Kawartha was recently denied ATV access by Peterborough County. Cavan Monaghan prohibits them and has issued a statement on their website “The use of ORV’s on all roads within the Township of Cavan Monaghan is prohibited” and in their tax bill. 

According to the concerned citizen’s group, the requirements to drive an ATV on a road are a driver’s licence, insurance, plates and a helmet.  They note specialized courses and license tests are required for motorcycles and boats, but there are fewer requirements for a machine that is not designed to be on roads. 

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