Rural Bracebridge councillors want answers when it comes to blocking ATV use within the urban areas of town.
During this week’s Bracebridge general committee meeting, councillors took a look at a report from staff on the feasibility of expanding the area where off-road vehicles are permitted on municipal roads.
In April of this year the Town received correspondence from a local president requesting the areas where off-road vehicles are permitted on Town and District roads be enlarged. The resident asked that permitted areas be enlarged to include the area bounded by Taylor Road to the north, Highway 11 to the east; Hugh Campbell Drive and Birch Lane to the south; and Cedar Lane to the west. The resident cited access to Town amenities such as gasoline, groceries, restaurants and hardware stores as well as safety concerns with recreational ATV riders currently crossing Highway 11 from Kirk Line East to Kirk Line West illegally, as the main reasons for the request.
The staff report indicated a major problem with following through on the plan is that the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) forbids the use of ATVs on Hwy 11 flyovers.
That didn’t sit well with Coun. Barb McMurray, who represents Oakley Ward to the east of Hwy 11. She requested the MTO develop a more detailed rationale for why they won’t allow ATVs to cross the highway. McMurray said e-bikes, bicycles and pedestrians are all allowed to cross the flyovers and she needs a better explanation from the province.
While Coun. Archie Buie supported petitioning the MTO for more information, the rest of council was opposed.
Mayor Rick Maloney said the matter had already been debated when the request first came through in April and council had agreed to discuss the issue as part of the 2024 Town Business Plan.
“I’m not willing to supersede the decision we made just a short while ago,” said Maloney.
Coun. Don Smith went a step further, questioning why so much staff time had gone into an issue the council had just dealt with.
In the end, Only councillors Buie and McMurray voted in favour of asking the MTO for more information.
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