Riverview explores allowing ATVs to use some public roads

·3 min read
An all-terrain vehicle trail runs along Trites Road in Riverview, ending near Whitepine Road. The Albert County Trail Blazers are seeking approval for group members to drive ATVs and side-by-side vehicles along some town roads in the area.  (Shane Magee/CBC - image credit)
An all-terrain vehicle trail runs along Trites Road in Riverview, ending near Whitepine Road. The Albert County Trail Blazers are seeking approval for group members to drive ATVs and side-by-side vehicles along some town roads in the area. (Shane Magee/CBC - image credit)

Riverview is considering whether to allow members of an all-terrain vehicle association to use some public streets so riders can access businesses in the municipality.

Town council asked staff to examine a request by the Albert County Trail Blazers to use roadways where ATVs and side-by-side vehicles are normally prohibited.

Staff were directed on Monday to research other municipalities and discuss the idea with the province and RCMP before reporting back to council at some point in the future.

"Everybody was open to considering some options and exploring whether or not this would be a good fit for the time to Riverview," Mayor Andrew LeBlanc said about council's discussion.

"Obviously, a number of the questions were focused around public safety, pedestrian safety and what sorts of regulations and enforcement would go with it."

Mike Heenan/CBC
Mike Heenan/CBC

He said the access would be limited to association members.

Aron Tavender, president of the group with about 1,200 members, said they're looking for approval to be able to access businesses for fuel, food or even parts.

The group isn't seeking access to all town streets.

"The select routes we've asked for at the moment would be specifically to give access to gas and meals and such," Tavender said in an interview.

Submitted/Aron Tavender
Submitted/Aron Tavender

The request is for access from an ATV trail head on Trites Road down Coverdale Road.

As well, it has sought access from that trail head along a portion of Whitepine Road over to Findlay Boulevard, and a section of Gunningsville Boulevard connecting to Pine Glen Road, and Pine Glen to another trail head.

Tavender said councillors voiced concerns about noise as well as reckless drivers, but he said reckless users would likely continue to use streets whether approval is given or not.

He said if approval is given, the club can then ask the province's Department of Public Safety to come and enforce the rules if people are violating them. He said club members would discourage bad behaviour so access isn't revoked.

It wouldn't be the first community to allow access.

A presentation by QuadNB and the local group to a Riverview committee meeting in June indicates 13 municipalities have given access including Bathurst, Edmundston and Miramichi, with others in the process of supporting the idea.

Sussex gave limited access several years ago, and Mayor Marc Thorne said it seems to be working well. He said the town worked with the local ATV club on a route to access businesses in the western end of the community.

"The operators of the vehicles themselves have been very respectful of the traffic laws, and it seems that the community has embraced them, and we have absolutely no complaints about people using the streets at all," Thorne said.

He said there are still instances of people in the community driving an ATV illegally on town roads, but not those using trails to come into town on approved routes.

"I think we see that that's typical in most communities, that sometimes people will hop on an ATV and do something they're not supposed to, but it's unrelated" to the approval to use some town streets, he said.

There's no timeline for when Riverview staff will report back to town council on the issue. LeBlanc doesn't expect it this summer.

Any changes would require council to pass a bylaw, a process that includes a public hearing.

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