News Local

ATV event in city Saturday

By Stephen Uhler, The Daily Observer

The Renfrew County ATV Club is planning to showcase the Pembroke section of the recreational trail system during a special event being held Saturday. This image is from a similar club in the Gananoque region. Contributed photo

The Renfrew County ATV Club is planning to showcase the Pembroke section of the recreational trail system during a special event being held Saturday. This image is from a similar club in the Gananoque region. Contributed photo

Pembroke is launching a trial balloon to find out if ATVs can operate within the city.

 

The finance and administration committee agreed during its meeting Tuesday evening to permit the Renfrew County ATV Club to host an event within the city this Saturday. The club has approached the city for permission to use city streets to gain access to the CN corridor and eventually the CP corridor as part of an event to promote a local trail system.

Some 40 ATVs and 60 to 80 people are expected to take part in the event, which will start and end in Pembroke, and send riders looping along the CN and CP corridors through Whitewater Region, and back to the city.

Ron Conroy, parks and recreation department manager, said representatives of the group, which made a presentation to council earlier this year, and city staff have been meeting to discuss possible locations where ATVs could access the fledgling trial system from Pembroke, and is currently working on a report for the committee in order that direction can be received.

In the meantime, he said this request came about before they are ready, and so the club is seeking a one-time exemption to current laws which state ATVs aren't permitted to operate within the city,

“If this is approved on a special on-time basis, this may provide the city with an indication as to potential issues and concerns, if any, which could be anticipated should a permanent arrangement be considered,” Conroy said.

He said staff have been trying to contact the OPP for comment and input on the matter, as they would like their input before, during and after the event, as part of evaluating it.

Committee members were in general supportive of the event, although a number had concerns about ATVs using streets through residential areas.

Coun. Christine Reavie said while the Sept. 9 event came up quicker than they expected, she sees this as an opportunity to see how this would all work, having the city taking part in the recreational trail system.

“I'd hate to say “no” and alienate the club,” she said. “I think this is a great opportunity to try this out.”

Coun. Pat Lafreniere said she is concerned about the route, especially as it involves Lea Street and Forced Road which are very busy on the weekends. She wondered if the route could be altered in some way.

Conroy said staff are working with the club to iron out the details, but stated Forced Road is needed so they can access the former CN line.

Mayor Michael LeMay said at a later date, the city will have to take a serious look at how ATVs and the trail system going through Pembroke will be set up, and how it can be made to operate if it is to be a permanent arrangement. In the meantime, this weekend's event will serve as a great trial run to get an idea of how this would operate.

Coun. Les Scott said he feels they need to consult with the OPP, but agreed to support the running of the event.

The location of a trail head from which the ride is to start and end hasn't been established yet, but will soon as the club and the city work out the final details.

The ride is a one day event in which ATVs would leave Pembroke at 10 a.m. Saturday and spend the day on the trail, taking the CN railbed to Fletcher Road in Whitewater Region, then make a lunch stop at Wilderness Tours and tour Whitewater Brewery before heading back to the city. Riders will be encouraged to stay in the city Sunday to explore the area.

ATV access would be permitted to Riverside Park, George Street, Lea Street to Forced Road to Boundary Road to then access the CN railbed.

Truck and trailer parking for local residents will be at the Pembroke and Area Community Centre, with ATV access on International Drive, Upper Valley Drive and Bennett Street to the spur line at Bennett.

For further information, check the Renfrew County ATV Club's website at www.renfrewcountyatv.ca or their Facebook page www.facebook.com/RCATV Club/

SUhler@postmedia.com