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Canadian Publications Agreement No. 40727545

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ATVs one step closer to Douro-Dummer roads

 

June 23, 2017

 

BY TERRY MCQUITTY

 

Douro-Dummer council has softened on the idea of allowing ATVs on municipal roads. In March, a delegation from the Peterborough County Trails ATV Club led by Weity Hamersma, requested that ATVs be allowed on municipal roads in the Dummer Ward from County Road 38 east to the boundary with Havelock Belmont Methuen. Council received the delegation and directed staff to research the issue and report back to council. That report was tabled at the Tuesday evening meeting.

CAO Dave Clifford explained to council that staff had looked at ATV bylaws in neighbouring municipalities and found most to be similar. Although ATVs are allowed on some roads, there have been restrictions put into place in areas such as parks, cemeteries and times such as after dark and in winter months. Clifford also found that the original bylaws drafted to allow ATVs on municipal roads were set for one year so council could reflect on the pros and cons before initiating the bylaw on a full time basis.

Clifford also researched the township’s liability through their insurance provider. The insurer suggested that the municipality partner with the ATV club, but on further inspection Clifford deemed this may not be the way to go. The club does not have an extensive trail network and many riders are not members of the club. Hamersma understood the situation, but explained that the club is serious about educating riders on the laws and safety measure required to ride an ATV.

One of the problems with the proposed passage by the ATV club was access to parking. If allowed as proposed, people planning on riding would have to park on the side of the road. Clifford suggested that the boundary be extended a little to the western boundary of Dummer Ward. This would allow parking at the Warsaw arena and add to economic development as riders would have easier access to the business and restaurants in Warsaw.

Clifford made it clear that he was looking for direction from council as to whether or not staff should draft a bylaw allowing ATVs on municipal roads. Council voted unanimously to start the bylaw process.

Mayor J. Murray Jones stated that his main concern is safety on municipal roads. Although in favour of drafting the bylaw, Jones also stated that nothing would be put in to place until a public meeting on the issue was held.

Councillor Tom Watt was also in favour of drafting the bylaw and went on to say that the Peterborough County Trails ATV Club did everything that was asked of them by council and more. They did an excellent job.