KAWARTHA LAKES-“You’ve done nothing but sow division since this topic came up,” remarked Councillor Dunn to Mayor Letham. “You sit there and you play both sides of the coin saying you are in favour of it and then you rig the system so it fails.”
Dunn was referring to the ATV Task Force and a controversial proposed route through Lindsay at Tuesday’s council meeting.
After months of consultations and back and forth to staff, Mayor Letham proposed taking a route through Lindsay out of the equation.
“We have had a lot of back and forth and a lot of good comments over the weekend,” said Letham “But at the end of the day, in my mind, the overwhelming number of residents in Lindsay do not want ATV’s on their local, collectors or arterial roads.”
Dunn took issue with that comment and it lead to a heated exchange between them.
“I disagree that the majority are against this we had about a 5% response from the survey in Kawartha Lakes. But the more important factor is this should not be all about Lindsay”, stated Dunn “We have managed to separate the city. We spent 20 years telling people Lindsay didn’t get special consideration and I’ve never seen anything more flagrant than the special consideration here. When people say Lindsay gets everything boy oh boy this sure sums it up.”
Councillor Seymour-Fagan, a member of the task force, also spoke against the motion to keep routes out of Lindsay.
“We just received a whole wack of emails in regards to support of ATVs being in the community.” stated the councillor. “I have to say that being in the task force it was very frustrating because there were some very aggressive people on the one side of it, we received nothing from the ATV riders and owners, they didn’t say anything but the other side was egressive and threatening and again they are the most vocal. It was supposed to be a process that was fir to everyone and we aren’t even done with the task force. I don’t think this right.”
Councillor Richardson who is a member of the task force also expressed frustration with the Mayor’s motion.
“We recognized within our communities the growth of Off-Road Vehicles in the City of Kawartha Lakes and we wanted to come up with some solutions to help manage that growth.” said Richardson “The request from the ATV community is simple, help them find a safe, practical link to enable ATV’s between the north and south Victoria Rail Trail corridors. That could be anything from a municipal road route, an existing trail or a bypass trail. We can move ahead if all parties agree to work collaboratively to find an acceptable short term solution and work toward a long term solution.”
Councillor Ashmore said most of the correspondence he received was in favour of it.
“I received approximately 150 emails over the weekend with 145 in favour of two-year trial project.”
Councillor O’Reilly agreed with the Mayor.
“No other municipality our size allows ATV’s to go through it. We, the Mayor and I, are ATV owners, just because some people decide the route through Lindsay isn’t appropriate doesn’t mean we are against ATV’s.
The Mayors motion to remove the prospect of a route through Lindsay was defeated 5-4.
Councillor Dunn put forward a new motion with a route through Lindsay starting in the spring of 2022 for a two-year pilot project.
The route would link to the Victoria Rail Trail at Logie Street to King Street, King to Lindsay, Lindsay to Wellington, Wellington to /victoria, Victoria to Elgin, Elgin to Angeline, Angeline to Thunderbridge and Thunderbridge to the Victoria Rail Trail.
The motion passed 5-4 with councillors Dunn, Seymour-Fagan, Yeo, Richardson and Ashmore voting for it.
Council extended the work of the task force until December while waiting for a report from the group on a linkage through Bobcaygeon.