Kawartha Lakes changes course on local ATV route decision
DAN CEARNS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, for The Standard
KAWARTHA LAKES: The City of Kawartha Lakes is changing course regarding ATVs in Lindsay.
At a Committee of the Whole meeting on Tuesday, September 7th, councillors voted not to approve the Lindsay ATV route. Instead the ‘Off-Road Vehicle Use of City Roads Task Force’ will look at bypass options for an ATV route going around Lindsay.
The original recommended route through Lindsay went from the Victoria Rail Trail (VRT) trailhead, at Logie Street to King Street, then King Street to Lindsay Street, Lindsay Street to Wellington Street, Wellington Street to Victoria Avenue, Victoria Avenue to Elgin Street, Elgin Street to Angeline Street, Angeline Street to Thunderbridge Road and Thunderbridge Road to the other rail-trail trailhead. However, in mid-June, councillors voted to get more community input on this route.
According to public Works Director Bryan Robinson’s report, the City’s communications department held a survey on this issue, which received 1632 responses.
“Out of all 1632 responses, 49.3 percent are in favour of an ATV connection route, and 50.7 percent are not,” the report read. “Out of all 1080 Lindsay responses, 33.6 percent are in favour of an ATV connection route, and 66.4 percent are not.”
Councillors were split on the issue.
“The residents in my mind have spoken in the survey. 66.4 percent is a big number, so I agree with the motion not to go forward with a route in Lindsay. I do like the bypass option,” Ward 1 Councillor Emmett Yeo said.
However, Ward 5 Councillor Pat Dunn argued the Council did not have enough representation in the survey to show Lindsay residents opposed this route.
“The population of Lindsay is 20,000. We had a five percent turnout. So you had 3.3 percent of the people in Lindsay don’t want it,” he said.
Councillor Dunn also stated he feels this sets a dangerous precedent.
“If we go down this road, every time we have to make a decision, we say ‘well let’s have a poll,’ we won’t make any decisions at this Council whatsoever.”
Ward 3 Councillor Doug Elmslie said over time; he’s become “less and less comfortable” with the chosen road route through Lindsay. He also responded to Councillor Dunn’s concern on the number of people who responded to the poll.
“If you wait to get more than 50 percent of people to weigh in on a poll, it’s going to take a long, long time. But I think what you have is a representative sample.”
Mayor Andy Letham felt it would be best for Council to listen to the Lindsay residents on this issue.
“The route through Lindsay would be a disaster. It’s not what the majority of the people want,” he stated.
Ward 6 Councillor Ron Ashmore said he feels this conversation and process has “made a total mockery” of the off-road vehicle task force.
Mayor Letham responded, saying Councillor Ashmore’s comments were “completely out of line.”
Councillors later voted, with the bypass motion passing by the narrow margin of five to four.
However, as it was a Committee of the Whole meeting, the decision still has to be ratified at a Council meeting later this month.