Cavan Monaghan Township residents eager to have their say on off-road vehicles

·2 min read

Cavan Monaghan Township residents are looking forward to having an opportunity to voice their opinions about whether to allow off-road vehicles on municipal roads in the township.

During the township’s council meeting on Monday afternoon, council members decided they will hold a public meeting in early December to discuss the use of ORVs on municipal roads, specifically in Cavan Ward.

Al Steel, who resides in the township, said the public consultation is a win-win situation, though he wonders if riders who have been using the roads illegally will be willing to speak up.

“I really see this as being able to open up some of the communication so that a lot of misconceptions on both sides can be discussed,” he said.

Although Steel doesn’t own an ORV, he said sometimes he’ll borrow one from a friend if he needs to do things around his property.

“But all my neighbours do. I see it for the neighbours and that’s why I’ve been very active on this,” he said.

Similarly to Steel, Colin Winslow noted while he doesn’t own an ORV, he has neighbours who use them for necessary farming purposes and friends who use them recreationally.

“If they are allowed on the roads, there will be very little difference in ORV traffic,” Winslow wrote in a comment on a post in a local Facebook group regarding council’s discussion.

“Very thankful voices were heard,” township resident Sarah Vos also posted.

Similarly, Murray Blouard called the public meeting “a positive thing.”

Steel said some misconceptions about ORVs is that they’re solely used to get from point A to point B.

“That’s not the case. Many people use their ATVs and ORVs to maintain their properties and plow their laneways,” he said.

Because plows push the snow onto the edge of municipal or county roads, technically it’s illegal for ORV users to remove it with their machine.

“It’s one of those things that over the years ATVs use and OVRs have continued on, and illegally under current jurisdiction,” he said.

“But with the changes of Bill 107 (which will ease restrictions on off-road vehicles) that are taking place at the end of the year, the township had to make some decisions and I think that this is a good compromise in moving forward.”

Individuals riding their ORVs and ATVs can also benefit the local rural economy, Steel said.

“The whole sport of riding on trails is an economic boom for a lot of rural areas,” he said. For example, some riders fuel up or dine at local restaurants.

Marissa Lentz is a staff reporter at the Examiner, based in Peterborough. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach her via email: mlentz@peterboroughdaily.com

Marissa Lentz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner