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ATV Group Request Concerns Trail Users
ST. PETER'S - A request from an all-terrain-vehicle (ATV) club to help develop a multi-purpose trail in this community has drawn fire from local residents who don't feel these vehicles should be allowed on local trail systems.
At its latest regular monthly meeting, Richmond Municipal Council voted 3-1 to write a letter of authority for the East Richmond ATV Riders Association. While the letter carries no power to grant ownership of the trail to the association, it supports the association's drive to develop the 12-kilometre stretch of trail between St. Peter's and nearby River Tillard as a multi-use area.
However, the same meeting saw St. Peter's residents Mark Vanderhoeden and Clair Rankin warn municipal councillors that the request for a letter of authority would further alienate pedestrians, cyclists, families and other trail users who don't wish to share this stretch of land with ATVs.
Vanderhoeden, who spent many years developing St. Peter's-area trails during his time with the provincial Department of Lands and Forestry (DLF) office in St. Peter's, insisted that the trail was not designed to withstand the damage that can be caused by ATV use.
Rankin, a former municipal councillor for the St. Peter's area, rebuked current Warden Amanda Mombourquette's assertion that ATV use on the St. Peter's-to-River Tillard trail could lead to economic spin-offs in the village. He also suggested that the county should instead focus on active-transportation trails, similar to those that have recently been developed in the nearby Town of Port Hawkesbury.
Even Richmond County Deputy Warden Michael Diggdon, himself an ATV owner and user, questioned the ability for community trails to handle such vehicles. However, Diggdon cast the lone "nay" vote when the motion regarding a letter of authority formally came to the council table on March 22.
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