A plan to allow all-terrain vehicles on the shoulders of several roads in Osgoode was well-received at a meeting on Jan. 24.
Nation Valley ATV Club member Kris Gough offered residents at the Osgoode community association’s AGM an early look at his proposal for a two-year pilot project that the city will put forward for feedback in February.
He has been working with Coun. Doug Thompson and city staff for two years to help his Winchester-based club connect to Ottawa trails.
Under Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act, ATVs are only legally allowed to cross roads at 90-degree angles – not drive alongside them. To change the rule, municipalities must pass a by-law allowing ATVs on shoulders.
Six of nine municipalities that touch the city’s boundaries have such by-laws, including North Dundas and North Grenville.
Gough’s proposal matches the rules in Winchester so there is consistency for club members crossing the city boundary. Single-seat ATVs with stock mufflers would be allowed on select sections of roads from half an hour before dawn to half an hour after dusk.
The proposal includes Cabin Road between Doyle Road and Manotick Station Road, and Manotick Station Road between Cabin Road and Springhill Road, and a couple other small links along roadsides. Thompson has also agreed to consider allowing ATVs to come down Second Line to access the restaurant and grocery store.
Gough, a Greely resident, said the plan recognizes the economic potential of allowing ATVs greater access to villages.
“You have residents who leave the city to ride,” he said, noting that a planned Ride for Dad in Winchester has already attracted 60 ATV riders from outside the area. “It really promotes tourism.”
In response to questions of drunk driving and hooliganism, Gough said those riders are the exception and will not be tolerated by the club.
“We want to be on a trail so badly, we’ll police ourselves,” he said. “There’s always going to be hooligans in cars and hooligans in ATVs, but we’re going to do our best to weed them out.”
Members of the public can offer feedback on the proposed by-law at a public meeting on Feb. 20 at the Osgoode community centre.