Village of Alix looks into lake rules after off-highway vehicle complaint

·3 min read

The Village of Alix will look into formalizing rules for public use of its namesake body of water after councillors pondered a complaint about off-highway vehicle (OHV) use.

The decision was made at the Jan. 6 regular meeting of council, which was held via Zoom to meet pandemic guidelines.

Councillors read a report from village Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Michelle White regarding the issue of OHVs and a public complaint that vehicles could damage the nature trail around Alix Lake.

“In March, 2019 Ms. S. Fazer wrote to council outlining concerns for the sustainability of Alix Lake and Nature Trail,” stated White in her report.

“Ms. Fazer called the village office on Oct. 16, 2020 to reiterate her concerns, specifically as they relate to the operation of off-highway vehicles.

“Ms. Fazer commented that council has lake sustainability in the village strategic plan. A review of the plan notes the vision as ‘Vibrant Village by the Lake.’

One of the core values is listed as ‘Stewardship: as stewards of community resources, we will help citizens maintain the village’s unique qualities and to nurture and preserve our quality of life.’

“Ms. Fazer stated that her concerns are primarily to do with the riparian area around Alix Lake as well as with the lake itself being harmed by OHVs.”

Previously, councillors instructed White to contact the Alix Nature Trail Society (ANTS) for feedback on the issue. White presented a written response from ANTS’ Vice-President Arlene Nelson-Dahl, who stated, “Quads are not encouraged on the nature trail because of the destruction they can cause if the rider is careless or deliberately destructive. We have found instances of both in the past.

“At the ANTS meeting on Nov. 26, this subject was discussed.

The general consensus was that there had been no obvious damage done to the trail in recent times by quads. Those who walk the trail regularly have stated that they have not seen any machines on the trail that should not be there.

“There is a snowmobile that regularly grooms the trail in the winter. This program is supported by ANTS as it makes the trail usable during the winter months.”

Both Coun. Barb Gilliat and Vicki Soltermann stated a lake management plan could address the OHV concern, along with others, such as docks jutting into the lake in wintertime and snowmobiles on the lake.

Gilliat stated she believed a general plan for safe use of the lake was better than a piecemeal approach.

Coun. Ed Cole noted certain enforcement would require the use of an OHV as a normal vehicle can’t patrol the hiking trail.

Coun. Tim Besuijen stated he felt no motorized vehicles should be on the hiking trail.

Coun. Soltermann made a motion that village staff develop a lake management plan to address issues raised during discussion. “No rush, but at some point we need to do this,” said Soltermann.

Councillors unanimously passed the motion.

Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, East Central Alberta Review