Trial Wildman to Springwater ATV trail becomes official

·3 min read

Connectivity was the root cause to make a temporary Tiny trail into a permanent ATV and ORV travel route.

A bylaw was passed at a recent meeting of Tiny council which made the 2020 Wildman Tract to Springwater trail an official route to be included in the upcoming township transportation master plan.

Within the one-year trial period, Tiny public works staff looked to township bylaw staff, the County of Simcoe, the OPP, and the Central Ontario ATV (COATV) club for comments in regards to safety, damage, costs, feedback, and complaints. None pertaining to the trail were received.

Tim Leitch, director of public works, addressed resident concerns about all-terrain vehicles (ATV) and off-road vehicles (ORV) within Tiny as a whole.

“In the transportation master plan, the results did show that a majority of residents were not in favour of ORVs and ATVs on the roads,” said Leitch, “but I think that was very specific areas -- places like Tiny Beaches Road -- these roads that are very limited in width, and have a lot of pedestrian and bicycle traffic.”

The route travels from parts of Concession Road 4 West (from 339 Concession Road 4 W to Simcoe County Road 6), Concession Road 4 East (from County Road 6 to Dawson’s Side Road), Dawson’s Side Road (from Concession Road 4 East to Concession Road 2 East), Concession Road 2 East (Dawson’s Side Road to Baseline Road South), and Baseline Road South (from Concession Road 2 East to townline with Springwater Township).

Coun. Cindy Hastings noted that resistance to ATV and ORV usage within Tiny was a result of bad behaviour from some riders, which was not what council was supporting in passing the bylaw.

Coun. Gibb Wishart raised caution toward ATV and ORV riders who didn’t take the designated trail systems in Tiny.

“All I can tell you, Tim, is they need to stay off the Rail Trail. There will be an unholy upheaval if we get ATVs on that because we already have horses and people on bicycles, so we need to keep them off that.”

Leitch reaffirmed, “We want to look at this in a logical fashion so we can provide connectivity for our residents, and that’s really what our goal is: take a slow, cautious but safe approach to continue to expand the use of ATVs and ORVs on our roads.”

Mayor George Cornell also noted the importance of connectivity for residents as a reason for the trail’s significance, and thanked residents for their patience during the process.

Leitch also complimented working with the COATV club in helping to sculpt the township’s trail system presently and in the future.

“In discussions with the COATV,” said Leitch, “my impression was that they were very happy that we were moving this forward, and continuing to look at expanding.

“The nice thing about the COATV, like the OFSC (Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs): they’re a group, they’re controlled, they’re managed, and have excellent communication and education through them. We’ll continue to work with them and see if there is opportunities, and if something does pop up that makes sense then we will present that to council.”

Council approved the permanent status of the trail in the bylaw, with the intent of looking at potential routes in 2022 and the combination of the TMP, council, staff, and public input for further expansion in 2023.

Archives of council meetings are available to view on Tiny township’s YouTube channel.

Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, MidlandToday.ca

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