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News archive for April 18, 2012

Minister visualizes eventual ATV legislation

The Trails Only Yukon Association (TOYA) has a message for MLAs on both sides of the legislature: “Keep your promise.”

By Max Leighton on April 18, 2012 at 3:46 pm

photo

Photo by Max Leighton

IT’S TIME FOR ACTION – Vern Peters (left) and Ken Taylor of the Trails Only Yukon Association discuss their concerns with members of the media this morning.

The Trails Only Yukon Association (TOYA) has a message for MLAs on both sides of the legislature: “Keep your promise.”

The group polled all candidates in last October’s territorial election and said each had indicated they would pursue some form of ATV legislation, should they be elected.

“As Robert Service said, ‘A promise made is a debt unpaid,’” Vern Peters, a TOYA steering committee member, told members of the media this morning at his Porter Creek C home.

The Yukon is one of the least regulated regions in Canada, noted Peters.

“This is a lawless land,” he said. “In the Yukon, you can do whatever you want as long as it is not on a public highway.”

The group commissioned a DataPath Systems study, which found that 90 per cent of Yukoners want some form of legislation and they wonder why the government has been dragging its feet on creating it.

“Everyone we’ve spoken with has indicated that this is not as difficult a file, as it is being made out to be. In fact, it is very doable,” said Ken Taylor, another steering committee member.

“I’ve watched the political scene in the Yukon for years and I have not seen an issue with so much popular support. Ninety per cent of Yukoners say that they want it and all 19 MLAs say they will go for it. This isn’t a big debate.”

The group met with Environment Minister Currie Dixon, as well as Energy, Mines and Resources Minister Brad Cathers in December 2011 to provide information on what such legislation may look like.

Their presentation to the ministers recommended: a moratorium on the creation of new ATV trails; limiting the use of ATVs to pre-existing alpine and wetlands; registration of all ATVs and Argos in the territory; making the rules applicable to outfitters and wilderness tour operators; and barring all motorized access from trails not currently used for ATVs.

The group is still waiting to hear a response and is frustrated by what it calls “decades of inaction” on the issue.

Despite its disappointment, TOYA believes Dixon will eventually support its motion in the house.

“I was fortunate enough to have Currie in my Grade 5 class, just a few years ago, and he was a conscientious, fine young man, even then,” said Peters. “I refuse to believe he will continue to be unresponsive about this.”

Dixon does see a future for ATV legislation in the territory, he told the Star in an interview early this afternoon.

“We’ve formed an extra departmental working group with the offices of the Department of Environment, Highways and Public Works and Energy, Mines and Resources,” Dixon said. “The first step is to say: ‘What do we have available to us now?’ and then ‘What can we do to move this forward?’”

Any future legislation would be multi-departmental and would take both environmental and safety concerns into account, said Dixon. He had no word, however, on when legislation may be ready for public consultation.

TOYA members also say they have the ear of NDP MLA Jim Tredger, who they say is concerned about ATV use in his own home riding of Mayo-Tatchun.

Though the group believe that public education should be a component of future ATV legislation, it should not be the only answer.

“When you put penalties in place, you are sending a message,” said Taylor. “For people that do the right thing, it says, ‘Good for you.’ For people who want to break the rules, it says otherwise.”

They are not certain how much the process would cost the territory, but believe it would be worth a substantial investment.

“There might be a few dollars spent doing something right, but that’s nothing compared to the cost of not doing anything at all,” said Taylor.

The group also wants the government to form a technical committee made up of key YTG employees and interest groups and produce a white paper for government consideration and public consultation.

“Let’s do this now,” said Peters.

Members of the group are clear that they do not oppose all ATV use.

Rather, they would like to see all interest groups come together to help draft legislation that works for all sides for the debate.

“Here’s a scoop: I have an ATV,” said Taylor. “I have had one for many years and I have driven hundreds of kilometres through this territory on it.

“I love my ATV, and I understand why others love to ride as well. I just want them to do it responsibly.”

CommentsAdd a comment

Brian Fobe

Apr 18, 2012 at 8:02 pm

Well all I know is that there are millions of Acres that are untouched by anybody, but for this dictator group and others like it that is not good enough. I have been in the alpine with my ATV and you would never know I was there. No marks, no mud, no damage. It comes down to educating not dictating like the two at the top of this article which I have no respect for. I bet they use the trails we keep open with our ATV’s to get to their special spots just like the rest of their followers. God I am really starting to hate living in this dictatorship land and the Gov will bend to these guy’s because they at like BULLIES, Shame on you Yukon Party for listening to one group of people. I notice only people that are against ATV user’s are only ever interviewed and I was never contacted by Data Path or any one else I have talked to, hmmm. Why can’t everyone use the land not just select people and groups. These people only see what is just in front of them then make a big deal of it and that becomes the voice of the people or so they say. Well I know lots of Yukoner’s that say this is a load of stuff. Thanks for ruining our Yukon experience. 90% ya right. NDP just tryin to make a name for themselves and ruining the Yukon like they did in B.C. Guess I should just stay in my house like a mushroom
The respectful Yukon User

anonymous1

Apr 18, 2012 at 10:49 pm

While I respect what some of these people are trying to do, others like the old hag who lives in pc but moved here from out of territory and thinks the Yukon should be what she pictured it as BEFORE moving here simply drive me insane. I don’t make as much noise as most people and drive 20km/h in town to make it to the nearest trail entrance.  Unfortunately for her, the people she is trying to stop simply don’t care about the law/by-law anymore so don’t care about her opinion on this matter. Look at the youth that passed away in October. I knew him personally for many years. He frequently stated he had no interest in abiding by the law and didn’t care what others thought of his actions. You CANNOT AND WILL NOT stop these people with any CURRENT course of action. You will ONLY harm those courteous enough to already respect their speed and noise level through unneeded harassment and fines.
Again… THOSE WHO DISRESPECT EVERYONE AROUND THEM WILL CONTINUE TO DO SO no matter how pro active some people think they’re being. If you really think most of those drivers will stop to accept fines or worse you have another thing coming. Speaking of which… I will continue to respectfully (quiet and slow) drive the side of the roads to the trail heads. Sadly though I so strongly disagree with the fines and new laws I can honestly say that I will not consider stopping to accept these fines.
It pains me to say it but having previously being for this law, I must now take sides with the people that I too cannot stand because you had to go ruin it for everyone.You wont stop them… just the ones who like you, already cared too. We would gladly stop. Let us register and insure our atvs, argos, dirtbikes. the ones who have these things could continue on respectfully. The others who are the cause of this debate… they couldn’t care less because they’re not listening. The only people who are going to stop for the RCMP/bylaw in this case will be the same people arguing in favor of this new bylaw. The others didn’t stop before, a bylaw will literally do nothing. 
My machine is registered and insured. Let me politely get where I’m going and I will stop. Currently however, my machine does 110 km/h out of the box and I will not allow myself to literally pay for doing the same thing I’ve done all my life simply because you let a couple bad apples ruin your day. Simply put I (and everyone I know) will no longer be stopping and it pains me to join the other side which I so truly hate. However I’m paying for their actions with this bylaw. My plate has been removed while writing this.
Be reasonable or catch us if you can. The number of disgruntled riders grows rapidly.

ATV Forever

Apr 19, 2012 at 1:10 pm

I would suggest that another survey be done that is Yukon wide and includes those of us who own ATVs.
I have never see this survey that 90% say we need regulations.
Do another survey and included EVERYONE, YUKON wide and lets see if it is still 90%!

kate Moylan

Apr 19, 2012 at 4:52 pm

Eventual? Stop delaying.

bobby bitman

Apr 19, 2012 at 6:10 pm

I am all for people staying on trails.  I object to anyone having to register, license and insure a dirt bike or quad.  Why not register, license and insure mountain bikes?  Talented mountain bikers move extremely fast down tough trails, and present the same types of issues as a dirt bike in terms of people’s safety.  So why not register, license and insure them as well?  By the way, and I’m serious about this, mountain bikes should not be riding off trail either.  Anyway, put laws in place to keep people on the trails that exist.  Delete trails that go through extremely sensitive zones, such as breeding grounds, nesting grounds, or otherwise sensitive areas.  See how that works out.  Don’t push this issue too far or you are going to lose people like me who initially supported the Trails Only Yukon initiative.  In fact you might win an opponent if I find that this is getting too ridiculous.  Also, NO HUNTERS should be allowed off trail either, not to pick up their kill, not for anything.  Get off your ATV and walk.  I know that Ken is an avid hunter, and I am assuming he is not a hypocrite, so I am sure he is pushing for this as well.

Billy Polson

Apr 19, 2012 at 9:05 pm

This lead group of ‘old boys’ have ridden their quads on every access to the hinterland they’ve desired in the Yukon, over the time they have lived here….and they do come from ‘outside’. They have all been ‘leaders’ in their communities (and their own minds) with ambitions in politics…they know how the system works.

They want a legacy (or shall I say something to comfort them in their esteemed old age) that they played no role in any environmental or wildlife issue of today and beyond…..

The priviledge of living in the Yukon should never be taken for granted, or advantage of.

I own a quad and I do what these guys do and what they have done. I respect the environment and wildlife of the Yukon and I don’t take to this downtalk from spinnsters.

Some pictures of mining activity in the Yukon would blow away any perceived damage by quads. (...and I know most access that exists is from mining activity).

riding family

Apr 21, 2012 at 9:14 am

What the hell??  COW crammed the snowmobile bylaw down our throats, what’s the difference?  One of the MLA’s or COW councillors own a Quad?

Northone

Apr 21, 2012 at 4:17 pm

It will be interesting to see what YTG comes up with for an ATV law.  In order to be effective and fair, the law will need to apply to industrial use of ATVs, not just recreational use.  Given that most grassroots mineral exploration is done via ATV, it will be interesting to see how the law develops.

Personally, I see this as much ado about nothing.  My work takes me to remote parts of the Yukon and I regularly see the legacy of mineral exploration, leaving trails, brush piles, clearings and garbage in the bush…too bad the media never reports on any of this.  I guess recreational ATV users are an easier target than industry.

nick

Apr 23, 2012 at 8:14 am

I have Off road trucks, i enjoy getting out into the backcountry with these, and being a multi fuel diesel with lockers, i get pretty much anywhere a quad gets, that being said, there is a good rationale to plate, register and insure off highway vehicles of all types. For example, do you know that the Province of Quebec, which arguably has the best snow machine tourist business in the world, and the best supported system anywhere, plates its machines?

100% of all the trail passes, plates etc. are paid into a fund that maintains the network, and supports the sport, 100% ! this in turn allows the vehicle licence branch to inform riders in a direct way with education programs, and other important information to users.

Say what you like about our habit of “made in Yukon solutions” but foot dragging on this issue makes us all look like frontier hicks when there are are so many good and workable examples out there to follow.

I for one am happy to plate my dirt bike, and sled, as long as the fees go into supporting our sport

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