There will be no expansion of either county or township roads available for off-road vehicles (ORVs) in Douro-Dummer Township, township council decided at its regular meeting Tuesday.
“I remind council that two days ago there was another person killed in Huntsville, and there’s about 100 people a year killed on ORVs,” said Deputy Mayor Karl Moher, who presented a motion to council restricting any increase of ORV road routes.
“Many of those are on roads and one third of them are kids that are 16 years or younger.”
Council was responding to a request from Peterborough County for input into plans to add selected county roads for ORV use in Douro-Dummer. It also asked the township to address potential concerns and related needs.
The county has been reviewing ORV use alongside an update of its transportation master plan.
Currently ORVs are not permitted on any county road in the township and are only permitted on two township roads — the Twelfth Line Road Dummer and Simpson Road.
A staff report to Douro-Dummer Township council said results of a May 10 township public meeting held to review the county’s ORV recommendations showed “the overall response was the majority are not in support of off-road vehicles on any road in the township.”
Concerns were expressed about the municipal risk and associated liability, the ability to enforce rules and regulations, noise and general road safety.
Some residents were in favour and spoke about the enjoyment they experience using off-road vehicles and their ability to support local businesses while riding.
“The comments included a position that, as a safe operator, they should not be unfairly punished because of those that don’t follow the rules,” the report stated.
Moher’s motion also calls for “an exception for agricultural and truck maintenance use of off-road vehicles on roads continue as permitted.”
Coun. Tom Watt, who voted against Moher’s motion, said since less than one per cent of township residents replied to the survey, it means it is “almost inadmissible.”
“But, regardless, I can’t support the motion. I think, sooner or later, we’re going to have to come into the 21st century and deal with this and move on with it,” he said.
Coun. Shelagh Landsmann spoke in favour of restrictions, saying, “I don’t think that the county roads, in some cases, are actually safe with ditching being so prevalent these days and shoulders being narrow.”
Brendan Burke is a staff reporter at the Examiner. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach him at email@example.com.
Brendan Burke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner