Princeton’s mayor promised last week that the municipality will revisit language in its controversial ATV legislation, but according to the man leading the campaign against bylaw 925, it’s not enough.
“There is not a victory until bylaw 925 is revoked,” said Ed Vermette, who has organized a petition and letter writing campaign and used social media extensively to gain support for the cause.
“The mayor was not clear in what he said,” said Vermette. What I got out of it is we will be able to transport our ATVs from our yards to outside of town. That’s not good enough.”
In an interview with The Spotlight, Mayor Frank Armitage confirmed: “There is a need to rework portions of the bylaw, for example operation on private property within town. We are looking at that and hope to have that ready for introduction at our next council meeting.”
Last month council gave three readings to the bylaw, which sets fines of between $250 and $500 for people operating off-road vehicles on Princeton’s 3.8 kilometers of the Trans Canada Trail, as well as for people operating ATVs and other sport vehicles on private property.
Armitage said the private property section of the bylaw is being reworked following input from concerned citizens at that meeting. “At the end of the last council meeting I opened it up and received questions from the floor. Based on the information people provided, and their questions, we realized there was a need to rework portions of the bylaw.”
Armitage said he is not backing down on the use of the trail. “Am I still committed to a non-motorized trail through town? That would be a decision of council but I’m not aware of any desire to remove the bylaw.”
Vermette has been encouraging ATV users and other opponents of the bylaw to attend the August 15 council meeting and he is expecting a large turnout.
“I don’t think Princeton has ever seen what’s going to happen Monday night.”
Speculating the council chambers might not be large enough to accommodate the crowd Vermette said: I don’t care if we have to fill the streets right out to Highway 3, I want people to show their support.”
Vermette encouraged everyone to be respectful of the law, adding he’s heard people have promised to arrive at the council chambers on their ATVs.
“I’ve heard rumors…I am going to discourage that right here and now. I don’t want anybody to do anything illegal. I want people to protest and people to stand up for what’s right.”