By Craig Westcott/January 13, 2023
The new ATV route through the streets of Bay Roberts will be closed for two months while council assesses how the six-month pilot project fared and surveys the public for its take.
Council opened a section of Water Street and Cross Road along with part of the T’Railway this past summer to allow ATV riders to drive through town to reach Spaniard’s Bay. The move came after about two years of planning and consideration of proposed routes.
The Town’s director of protective services, Justin Parsons, told council Tuesday there have been minimal complaints since the route opened.
“We did get a lot of positive feedback,” he said.
Parsons recommended that council give the public 10 days to respond to a survey and offer feedback about the route. He noted the traffic regulations allowing ATV traffic are still in place and appeared reluctant about closing the route given the work that would be involved in taking down or covering the signage along it.
Councillor Dean Franey moved a motion calling for a 10-day period of public input. “I’ll echo what the director said,” he added. “It seemed that the complaints that were ATV related weren’t with the T’Railway. It was in other areas of town, actually. I know a lot of people who live along the route, so I’ve asked them (about it) sometimes. One thing that I heard was that they said it wasn’t as busy as they thought it was going to be. I know at the beginning we did have one issue on the Cross Road where someone had the track behind them and (ATVs) on the road, and we rectified that so that they weren’t surrounded by ATVS… So, I think it’s been a success overall and I hope to continue it.”
Mayor Walter Yetman said he too thought the route was going to be busier.
Franey wondered if the route could be left open during the assessment period.
But Deputy Mayor Geoff Seymour pointed out that when council opened the route it was with the understanding it would be on a six month trial basis to be reviewed at its conclusion. Leaving the route open now would be exposing its users and the neighboring residents, he indicated, to a whole different set of weather conditions than was experienced this past summer.
Mayor Yetman asked for suggestions as to how long the route should be closed. “We can shut it down, or keep it open until the survey is done,” he said.
Councillor Frank Deering allowed the survey will probably indicate there are fewer concerns about the route now than there were before it opened.
Seymour argued for closure until the assessment is completed.
“That’s what we said we’d do,” he noted. “In saying that, I live in the area, and I never saw anyone abusing that (trail) whatsoever.”
Franey suggested council close the trail until the end of February pending the results of the survey.
Mayor Yetman liked that idea, because it includes the worst of the winter months. He said the signs pointing out the route can be covered for the time being, and not taken down.
“We have the discretion, regardless of this motion, at any time, at any council meeting, we can say we need to shut it down (again) for March,” he said. “That’s in our regulations.”