Nackawic approves off-road-vehicle access to Otis Drive

·3 min read

By early June, off-road vehicle riders can legally drive their machines along Otis Drive in Nackawic and parts of Routes 105 and 605, including the Hawkshaw Bridge.

At its Tuesday, April 19 meeting, Nackawic council approved the third reading and enactment of Bylaw T-3, which details laws and regulations surrounding the use of designated town streets for ATVs and quad drivers.

Deputy Mayor Greg MacFarlane, who chaired the meeting in the absence of Mayor Ian Kitchen, cautioned the bylaw passage doesn't mean the new rules begin immediately. He said the tentative goal is to implement the bylaw by June 4, but several steps remain.

He explained those steps include undertaking a public awareness campaign, installing signage, and informing RCMP and off-road enforcement. An information meeting is scheduled for May 25 at the Nackawic Lions Club.

MacFarlane said a letter from N.B. Public Safety Minister Bill Hogan and another expected shortly from Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Jill Green cleared the path for implementing the bylaw.

The province also approved access to the Hawkshaw Bridge, allowing off-roaders to travel between trails on either side of the Pokiok Stream and St. John River.

In a press release, QuadNB general manager Jacques Poirier called the Nackawic council decision "timely," noting ongoing investment in the growing sport of off-road travel.

"With all the investments that have been announced recently, this demonstrates that the government funds made available to our industry are well invested," said Poirier. "This new access will bring new followers and especially new tourists."

Poirier said Nackawic businesses would benefit from what he described as "a new windfall" of traffic to their doors.

The new bylaw would allow all-terrain vehicles on a portion of Routes 605 and 105 to reach the Irving gas station and Robins Donuts at the intersection of Landegger Street. That access remains from a previous agreement between the town and local ATV clubs.

The new bylaw provides access to Otis Drive, allowing off-road travellers to reconnect with Route 105. The province also approved travel by ATVs and quad riders along Route 105 across the Hawkshaw Bridge to trails in that area.

"This new access to Nackawic streets will have a major impact on many quad clubs," Quad NB explained in its press release. "It will finally establish a connection of two clubs, opening a wide range of new trails for thousands of QuadNB members who will finally explore new experiences."

Bylaw T-3 provides access to specific streets outlined in the bill, but it prohibits off-road vehicle travel on all streets not explicitly mentioned.

All-terrain drivers can't exceed 40 km/hr and must stay on the extreme right of the road as they travel in the same direction as traffic. Drivers must possess a valid driver's license, and drivers and passengers must wear approved helmets.

The bylaw requires any machine using the designated streets to comply with all Off-Road-Vehicle Act regulations. In addition to a driver's license, all machine operators must provide proof of registration, insurance and trail pass.

The bylaw prohibits off-road-vehicle traffic on Otis Drive between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.

MacFarlane said he believes the new bylaw enjoys widespread support in Nackawic, noting a public meeting on the issue drew a "good turnout." While the proposal met with some early opposition, he said, most people seemed to support it by the end of the meeting.

Jim Dumville, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, River Valley Sun

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting