By Mark Squibb/October 14, 2021
Having earned a seat at the council table once again, Paul Connors said he’s going to continue to advocate for the responsible ATV users in CBS.
Connors served on council from 2013 to 2017, but was not re-elected for a second term in the 2017 election, though he came a close fifth in a field of 10 at-large candidates that saw four of them elected.
Following the loss, he joined the ATV Advisory Committee, a group officially formed in 2018 to act as liaison between the town and the ATV community.
He said he has requested to continue to serve on the committee, but thinks it might be nice for someone besides a member of council to chair the committee.
Either way, Connors said he will continue to advocate for responsible ATV users and other motorized vehicle users in the community. That includes calling for development of ATV routes in town.
“It’s been talked about for many years, but I want to put a higher priority on it for the responsible ATV users out there,” said Connors. “It’s something that has been needed for many years, and it’s time to move forward with it.”
Work has begun on developing an ATV trail from Seal Cove to the Holyrood Generating Station and out to Route 60.
“There has been a lot of work that has been done, but my goal is to make sure that work continues, and that it moves along a little bit faster than what it has before,” said Connors. “We’ve identified some Crown Land that needs an application, so we’re hoping that process moves along a little bit quicker. I’m hoping ATV users will hear quickly that things are back moving again and that there will be more focus put on the development of the trail.”
The committee has mapped many traditional trails in CBS and identified a number of potential ATV routes.
In carving out the Seal Cove trail, the committee has had to work with Nalcor, Newfoundland Hydro, and the Town of Holyrood.
“There’s a lot of opportunities for development of the trail,” said Connors. “CBS needs to come on board with the development of the trail… There are a lot of other towns and cities that are capitalizing on ATVs and the whole recreational tourism market, and I think that now, for our town users, and tourists, we need to start moving this forward.”
Council members over the years have reported in public meetings that they have received many complaints about dangerous and reckless use of ATVs and other motorized vehicles.
Connors said it comes down to the driver.
“There are two types of ATV users; there are responsible ATV users and there are irresponsible ATV users,” said Connors. “The responsible ATV users are the people who abide by the law and have their bike registered and insured. And then there are the irresponsible ATV users. And they are in every community across the Avalon, and probably across Newfoundland and Labrador and into Canada.”
Connors said concerns about irresponsible users and plans for trail development are two entirely different issues — one is about enforcement, the other, development. Responsible users, said Connors, ought to be able to ride designated trails legally and safely.
He added there needs to be a regional approach to enforcing safe practices.
“This is not something that CBS is going to be able to do on their own,” said Connors. “We need to meet with the RNC, we have to have discussions among ourselves and come with up a plan, with a strategy, to curb those irresponsible users. Will the addition of an ATV trail or an ATV bypass trail curb some of that? Hopefully it would. But it’s an enforcement issue that needs to be addressed by many municipalities in Newfoundland and Labrador.”