New councils in Bay Roberts, Spaniards Bay will face ATVs in estuary issue

by Mark Squibb/September 30, 2021

The decision on whether to open the Shearstown Estuary to ATV traffic will be left to the incoming councils.

Years ago, both Bay Roberts and Spaniards Bay erected barriers on their respective sides of the estuary, the wetland located between the two towns, barring ATVS and other motorized vehicles form the trail.

Following requests from ATV groups, Bay Roberts has been looking at opening a route through town for ATV traffic. The proposed route would pass through the estuary.

This past summer, Bay Roberts approved usage of certain town roads for ATVs as a pilot project. That project will not go ahead until a meeting is held with Spaniard’s Bay and the provincial government is consulted. 

Bay Roberts CAO Nigel Black said the town is in the process of arranging a meeting between the two municipalities to make a joint decision on use of the estuary. Black said he had hoped to have the meeting prior to the September 14 council meeting, but it did not go ahead. He hopes to reschedule that meeting and have an update for the next council meeting, which is set for October 5.

Councilor Frank Deering asked if any alternative routes are being considered, as many residents were not pleased with one of the proposed routes because it passed both Amalgamated Academy and Wilbur Sparkes Recreation Centre and Soccer Pitch.

“I campaigned this week, and I struck every house in that area, and there was one person in favour of it, of going through the complex and the schools, so I think we should be looking for another route,” said Deering.

Outgoing Mayor Phillip Wood said that ultimately it will be an issue for the incoming council to settle.

“It’s unfortunate that this council, which started looking at the T’railway at a request from a group, never got to complete the work of that initial contact,” said Wood.

Councilor Geoff Seymour clarified that the estuary and the ATV route are two different agenda items, and echoed some of Deering’s comments regarding the planned link.

Black meanwhile pointed out that the route within Bay Roberts will be the decision of the town, but that the use of the estuary will depend upon the Town of Spaniard’s Bay.

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