Council passes controversial ATV ban

Crowd walks in disgust after bylaw gets final approval

A crowd of about 18 ATVers walked out of Monday's council meeting after the controversial ban off road vehicle ban was passed.

 

Princeton council gave final adoption last Tuesday night to bylaw 925, which sets fines for people using motorized vehicles on the KVR in town limits.

About fifteen ATV riders attended the meeting, and left abruptly after the vote was taken.

Many of them had words for council going out the door.

“So what, now we have to wait two years [until an election]?”

“You are going in the wrong direction.”

“That’s it? I’m out of here.”

“You are going to regret this.”

Ed Vermette, who has led the lobby against the bylaw, and who recently formed a Princeton ATV club that will advocate for shared trail use, was the only person from the public who remained until the end of the meeting.

Later he said: “I think people wanted more input than what they got. But you’re going to adopt a bylaw, you are going to adopt a bylaw. It’s a formality.”

Under the new law motorized vehicle riders on Princeton’s 3.8 km of the KVR trail face fines of $250.

Last month Vermette presented council with petitions opposing the bylaw signed by nearly 2,000 people from Princeton, the regional district, and outlying areas. Approximately 200 off-road vehicle enthusiasts and supporters attended the meeting where the petition and the desires of the ATV community were front and center.

At that time Mayor Frank Armitage reiterated the municipality’s concerns regarding safety and enjoyment of the trail for walkers and cyclists, and noted again that funding to maintain Princeton’s length of the trail can only be secured if the trail is designated non-motorized.

Last Tuesday the vote in favor of bylaw 925, which has been the source of considerable controversy in the last two months, was unanimous. The motion to adopt was made by Rosemary Doughty, and seconded by Jerome Tjerkstra.

Speaking in favor of the bylaw Jerome Tjerkstra said the municipality is “trying to balance the needs and wants of various groups, some of them opposing one another.”

Tjerkstra said council wants to work with the ATV community, in the same way it works with other groups like the Princeton Exhibition Association. He referenced the municipality’s fledgling committee on off road trail use. “We set up the committee to find ways to support the ATV community,” he said.

The deadline for applications to sit on the off road designated trails committee was last Thursday. CAO Rick Zerr would not discuss the number of applications, pending their review by council.