These signs are popping up around Tulameen, urging riders to slow down and respect the community.

Tensions high at meeting to address “weekend warriors”

Neighbours clash over how to keep streets safe

A meeting to discuss the problems of “weekend warriors” on the streets of Tulameen attracted about 50 property owners Saturday morning – and not all of them were happy about being there.

The session was organized by the local ratepayer’s association to discuss ways of making the resort community safer and discouraging stunt driving and reckless use of off road vehicles, however residents could not stay away from the debate about how much policing Tulameen is willing to tolerate.

“Involving the RCMP was the wrong thing to do,” insisted one man.

“They never should have been involved,” a woman asserted. “They will be up here and they will be ticketing everybody.”

Another rider suggested that dangerous driving be handled “amongst ourselves, without involving the police.”

Someone else said officers should only patrol on long weekends between midnight and 6 a.m. and “not during the day.”

Randy Halyk, a full-time Tulameen resident, initiated and facilitated the meeting, after what he characterized as an out-of-control May long weekend when one newcomer to town was killed as the result of a motorbike accident.

Related: Weekend warriors cause trouble in Tulameen

He opened the meeting by saying the community is somewhat complicit in the problems caused by ORVs.

“It could be said that by not acting we have condoned this kind of behaviour…Speaking out about wrong is the morally right thing to do.”

Last week Halyk told The Spotlight that “I think there’s a feeling when you come to Tulameen it’s lawless and you can do whatever you want.”

In the same article, RCMP Corporal Chad Parsons was quoted saying there will be enhanced ATV patrols in the region this summer.

Related: Man killed after motorcycle plunges into Otter Lake

Bob Sterne, a Coalmont resident who has secured permits so that he can ride his quad in several places in Tulameen and Coalmont, advised riders to visit the RCMP detachment and apply for similar papers.

“I would suggest the first thing that Tulameen needs to do is personally make sure they are following the law,” he said.

After the meeting The Spotlight spoke with several people in attendance who did not wish to be identified in the paper.

Halyk said he was aware of some tension.

“There was sort of an underlying sentiment in the community that we were going to shut [the town] down and it’s all my fault.”

But he added some positive ideas were shared, including that Tulameen could benefit from a lower speed limit and the residents should work together to educate visitors about off road vehicle etiquette.

Related: Head injuries in Coalmont ATV crash

Halyk said he’s hopeful that by working with provincial government agencies, a compromise might be reached.

“The RCMP is sort of first on my list of who I am going to meet with. We’ve talked about the permits that the RCMP can give out to allow people to cross the roads and so on. I think that is first and foremost what residents have to do.”

He said he will again reach out to RDOS director Bob Coyne, who last week said it would be inappropriate to be involved in the issue as the district must support the laws of the province.

Halyk said the contacts he has already made provincially might help Tulameen residents find a way to change the act.

“If you read the legislation we are dead in the water, but I think that legislation is fairly new and already it has been tweaked.”

He said he wants Tulameen to be “the first ATV friendly community in BC.”

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publisher@similkameenspotlight.com
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andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

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