By Stephen Vance, Staff
Meaford council has approved the use of off-road vehicles such as four wheel ATVs on its municipal roads with the exception of in the urban core.
The approval to the new bylaw was given at council’s September 28 meeting, and while there has been a push for several years to allow the use of ATVs on municipal roads, without access to the urban core, some are wondering where they are supposed to get fuel.
Municipal Clerk Robert Tremblay told council that the question of access to fuel, lodging, and retail outlets is complicated by the fact that while nearly all of the area municipalities allow the use of ATVs on their roads, Grey County and province do not.
Tremblay said that a review of the bylaw will take place after one year in order to identify any issues, and to also address access to the urban core.
“It allows us to move forward with the bylaw now in the rural area, and that gives us time to make a request to the county (to amend its bylaws to allow ATVs on specific county roads in Meaford), monitor how the bylaw is going, and then concurrently, within 12 months, hold a public meeting, hear from the public, and proceed with the urban section,” Tremblay told council.
The Clerk noted that at the September 14 public meeting, many expressed concern about having access to the urban core for fuel and food.
Tremblay suggested that County Roads 12 and 7 could be used to access urban Meaford if the County was willing to approve the use of ATVs on those roads. Failing that, Tremblay said the only route into the urban core would be via Centreville Road and Grandview Drive – both residential areas.
Only councillor Jaden Calvert voted against the new bylaw, expressing concern about the move resulting in increased use of ATVs on conservation lands or private property, as well as the increased use of fossil fuels within the municipality.
With regard to the concern about ATVs on private or conservation lands, Councillor Steve Bartley noted that those activities are illegal in the absence of the bylaw, and will continue to be with the bylaw approved.