Kawartha Lakes council to continue discussing ATV route options for Lindsay area
by The Standard | Podcast September 30th, 2021 https://thestandardnewspaper.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Kl-Council-still-on-ATV-route-Sept-30th-2021.mp3
DAN CEARNS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, for The Standard
KAWARTHA LAKES: City of Kawartha Lakes council is not finished with discussions about an ATV route around or through Lindsay. Earlier this month, at a Committee of the Whole meeting, councillors passed a motion not to approve the Lindsay ATV route.
Instead, they decided to have the Off-Road Vehicle Use of City Roads Task Force look at by-pass options, an ATV route going around Lindsay. One of the suggested options for the task force to consider was creating a bridge crossing at Thunderbridge Road.
But when the motion came to a council meeting for ratification, on Tuesday, September 21st, Ward 5 Councillor Pat Dunn moved to send the route back to the task force, for by-pass options around Lindsay, but removed the first portion of the motion, which called for non-approval of the route through Lindsay.
According to a recent report from Public Works Director Bryan Robinson, the City’s communications department held a survey on this issue, which received 1632 responses.
“Out of all 1632 responses, 49.3% are in favour of an ATV connection route, and 50.7% are not,” the report read. “Out of all 1080 Lindsay responses, 33.6% are in favour of an ATV connection route and 66.4% are not.”
However, Councillor Dunn pointed out, this is only one of two surveys the city has seen.
“There [are] two surveys, the first survey showing a result of 75 percent of people in favour of a route through Lindsay. We can’t ignore that,” Councillor Dunn said. “The second survey was very focused. It focused strictly on the people in Lindsay.”
Councillor Dunn claimed this skewed the results in favour of those opposed to a route through Lindsay.
“We made special arrangements for people in opposition to cast their ballots, to cast their vote.”
He then took aim at recent information provided by Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit’s medical officer of health, Dr. Natalie Bocking, about safety concerns of having off-road vehicles on city streets.
“Yes, there [are] accidents. But when they do their figures, they don’t separate between ATVs and dirt bikes. They don’t have that information,” Councillor Dunn stated.
The Ward 5 Councillor felt the council would never get unanimous resident support on any proposed route.
“No matter what route we take, we’re going to offend somebody,” he said.
But Mayor Andy Letham challenged Councillor Dunn’s opinion of how the council should make this decision.
“This is a conversation that just borders on insane at some point. I want to ask you straight up, and I know you’ll give me an honest opinion because you always do. After all the surveys we’ve had, after all the deputations we’ve had, after all the correspondence and reports and conversations we’ve had with residents of Lindsay, can you tell me you still believe the majority of residents in Lindsay want ATVs to come on any route through the town of Lindsay?,” he asked.
Councillor Dunn responded to the Mayor’s question.
“I have no idea. I got an email saying we are not tolerant in Lindsay. I think we are tolerant in Lindsay. I think we’re more than happy to try anything to see if it works. This is a two-year pilot project,” he said.
Mayor Letham noted, this motion only deals with “exploring other options around town.” He conceded the issue of a route through Lindsay is “still hanging out there,” and the council needs to “put that to bed one way or another.”
Councillor Dunn’s motion was later passed by council.