More potential ATV routes going to council this week
More ATV routes will be considered on Tuesday, Nov. 16 by Kawartha Lakes Council. New routes include roads near Pontypool, Bethany, Janetville, Omemee, Long Beach, Lindsay and Bobcaygeon.
But the grassroots organization, Keep Our Roads Safe in Lindsay which is against ATVs (also called ORVs) on Lindsay streets, says there has been no direct contact with those along the route and there are no maps. In a media release the groups say there has been no consultation period and no safety or risk assessment done on any roads.
Now, without the benefit of notice or a real public meeting, says former councillor Healther Stauble, council may approve many more kilometres of on-road ATV routes, including arterial roads with speeds well over the posted 80 km.
“These routes carry high volumes of commuter traffic, gravel trucks, farm equipment and school buses. There are intermittent shoulders, steep drop offs to ditches, and include unopened road allowances that were closed years ago due to the precarious slopes and conditions,” says Stauble, with every route running adjacent to settlement areas.
“ATV operators will drive through these residential areas where children are playing and riding their bikes and people are pushing strollers.”
Right now she says, it is the rural roads where ATV collisions are occurring. Stauble lives near Bethany and Pontypool.
“These are busy arterial roads and now we are talking about adding ATVs, machines prone to rollover and loss of control, designed for off road use only, to roads with commuter traffic and gravel trucks, at high speeds,” says Stauble. “Just because people enjoy ATVs does not mean they should be on the roads.”
All off- road vehicles – including ATVs — carry a sticker that says “off road use only” for a reason, says Stauble. “That sticker is the result of many deaths, injuries and lawsuits (so) how does the city defend itself when there is a claim after being warned of increasing rates of ATV related incidents in Kawartha Lakes?”
In their media release the group cites a number of deaths from ATV collisions on roads in nearby municipalities.
“The Medical Officer of Health and ATV experts’ advice is to stay off roads says Dr. Peter Petrosoniak, a Lindsay-based physician. Council has been warned that ATV on road injuries and fatalities will outnumber off road incidents if they open more roads to ATVs. Disregarding advice costs lives,” he said, adding “the OPP ATV collision rates are already almost 50 per cent. That percentage will increase with more ATV on road access.”
Richard Fedy, a Bobcaygeon resident, said due diligence means getting real information — looking at the facts, asking for advice before making decisions, and making a genuine effort at meaningful public consultation, with notice, without a pre-determined outcome,” he says.
John Bush, of Environmental Action Bobcaygeon, says “this decision flies in the face of the city’s recently completed Healthy Environment Plan that promotes the reduction of Green House Gas emissions in urban centres.”
“The ORV Task Force has not produced any solid information that council can rely upon, like bylaws from other municipalities, and they have misrepresented the health units’ facts. Once a pilot is in place, it will be very hard to monitor and enforce and could easily expand to include other types of ORVs” said Bobcaygeon resident Stephen Slack.
“Bylaws have not changed in neighbouring municipalities. Northumberland County ATV By-law 2019-21 and Peterborough County’s ORV By-Law and ORV By-Law Schedule A, Bylaw 2016-35, restrict ATV use to a small number of roads. Durham Region does not allow ATVs on any Regional Roads, except in Brock during Ice fishing season. That has not changed.” says Stauble.
Stauble says council should be having an actual public meeting that the public is told about, “with a real consultation period – after the holidays and after the pandemic.”
To contact your councillor or the mayor on this topic, email or call.