DAN CEARNS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, for The Standard
KAWARTHA LAKES: After a lengthy debate, Kawartha Lakes council has decided to allow ATVs on Lindsay roads. The decision was made at a council meeting on Tuesday, October 19th.
“Council has made a final decision, and it is our responsibility to ensure the roll-out of the pilot is done in a way that prioritizes the safety of our community,” Mayor Andy Letham said in a press release. “I want to remind our residents this is a two-year pilot program, whereby the goal is to monitor and gather information to determine the success of the route. We will work closely with our enforcement partners to make sure those participating are doing so responsibly and that the protection of our residents, both those on and off the trails, remains top of mind.”
At the meeting, Mayor Letham proposed denying all-terrain vehicles access to local, collector and arterial roads in Lindsay.
“The majority of residents in Lindsay at this time, whether they’re right or whether they’re wrong, do not want and are not in favour of ATVs on the roads in the town of Lindsay,” he explained.
Ward 5 Councillor Pat Dunn spoke against the motion.
“It shouldn’t be all about Lindsay,” he said. “These roads we’re running on are paid for by the citizens of the City of Kawartha Lakes and the province. I live on Colborne Street. I don’t own Colborne Street. So when motorbikes go by my house at whatever time of the day, I don’t get to say I don’t want motorbikes on my road.”
Ward 8 Councillor Tracy Richardson asked for the City to give this pilot project a chance.
“This is part of rural lifestyle in the City of Kawartha Lakes, and it’s still a rural community.”
But, Ward 7 Councillor Pat O’Reilly argued there is no precedent for this type of action.
“No other municipality in Ontario our size allows ATVs through it,” he stated.
After Mayor Letham said he disagreed with the “continual spin from Councillor Dunn,” the Ward 5 Councillor fired back.
“You’ve done nothing but sow division in this City since this topic came up. You sit there and play both sides of the coin. You sit there and say, ‘I’m in favour of it,’ and then you rig the system, so it fails,” Councillor Dunn said.
In a recorded vote, the motion failed five to four. Councillor Dunn then raised a separate motion to approve a route through Lindsay, which will include Logie Street, King Street, Lindsay Street, Wellington Street, Victoria Avenue, Elgin Street, Angeline Street and Thunder Bridge Road. That motion passed five to four.