Snowmobile concerns raised at RM of Edenwold council

·2 min read

Snowmobiles and walking paths rarely mix well, especially if the sleds run at high speeds through an urban-like area in Emerald Park. However, enforcing the bylaws intended to keep the public safe can be easier said than done, said RM of Edenwold community safety officer Ron Roteliuk.

“The problem is the same as with the ATVs,” Roteliuk told RM council at its Jan. 12 meeting. “We go to stop them, they take off. As far as private lands go, unless someone has a plate number, a good description and can provide a statement, that’s what we are restricted to unless we see it ourselves and can talk to the snowmobile rider.”

Under terms of the RM’s bylaw, fines for the unsafe or illegal use of a snowmobile can range from $250-$1,000. However, Roteliuk said the onus is on those reporting the incidents and complaints to have as much information about the situation as possible to ensure that community safety officers or RCMP can do anything about it.

“I heard you say you’ve had numerous complaints — well we have only received one and that was yesterday,” Roteliuk told council.

Coun. Tim Brodt said when there are snowmobiles riding at higher speeds in Emerald Park than vehicles in a 30 km/h zone, those are the ones who need to be stopped.

“But those guys aren’t going to stop for you,” Brodt said. “You have to get the public to report more of these so you can open up a file and the RCMP can open up a file.”

Under the RM’s snowmobile bylaw, speed limits for snowmobiles inside hamlets are 30 km/h during times where snowmobile use is permitted. The RM bans snowmobile use in hamlet limits between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m.

Snowmobile riders also must have a driver’s license and be riding a registered machine. Streets may be used as a snowmobile path only as the most direct path out of town. Highway ditches may also be used as snowmobile trails and riders can cross highways or bridges if that is the most direct path out of a hamlet to where they are going.

However, no snowmobile traffic is allowed in playgrounds, parks, public reserves, on boulevards, or on any other land owned by the municipality. Snowmobiles are also not to be operated on any property inside a hamlet, “in such a manner that is dangerous to other persons and properties.”

Other issues include snowmobile use on the Aspen Links Country Club, where there are no trespassing signs in place, Coun. Rod Tuchscherer said.

“During the weekends, it’s crazy,” Tuchscherer said. “They are going right beside pathways. I don’t know how fast they are going, but that’s really dangerous. We need to get this out to the public.”

Keith Borkowsky, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Quad Town Forum