By RYAN KING
PORT AUX BASQUES – The new ATV route through town was established this summer to the acclaim of local enthusiasts. The route was also geared towards tourists vacationing in the province.
Towns such as Stephenville and Corner Brook have made use of similar initiatives to re-invigorate tourism in the town, as vacationers took advantage of being able to explore the great outdoors before then cruising into town on the same vehicles to take advantage of local hospitality and facilities.
The route in Port aux Basques is still a pilot project, which means that the use of ATVs within the town is being monitored, and keeping the ATV route in place is evaluated on an ongoing basis. With winter fast approaching, those looking to still venture out on ATVs will be pleased to know that the route will remain until the end of November.
The dates for the pilot project range from May to November. From May to September, ATVs may be used from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and from October to the end of November from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
The Port aux Basques Town Manager said that it is still too early to determine what will happen to the ATV route next year.
“The trail has not closed for the season and all data has not been collected,” said Leon MacIsaac.
One of the key items to seeing the return of the ATV route is the ability of residents and tourists to follow the strict conditions put in place. These include a number of requirements, such as ATV drivers must stay on the designated route, all drivers must obey the Highway Traffic Act and the All-Terrain Vehicles Act. Also, the maximum speed is 30 kilometers per hour on the road, all vehicles must be registered and have liability insurance, and operators must have a valid driver’s license.
Additionally, all ATVs must meet requirements as outlined under provincial legislation, and residents should ensure that their ATVs meet the specifications before getting on the road. Vehicles will be disallowed if they are modified and no longer meet the statutory description, such as when ATVs have high-pressure tires or modified mufflers.
The town permits four types of ATVs to be used along the route. These include single-rider ATVs, Two-Up ATVs that seat two, side-by-sides, and utility terrain vehicles. Any maintenance issues on the route related to the use of ATVs will be addressed after the season ends.
RCMP Media Relations Officer Jolene Garland stated that there were multiple driving violations in the town by ATV motorists.
“Over the past summer, Channel-Port aux Basques RCMP received a number of reports of all-terrain vehicle (ATV) violations, including those who were speeding or driving in an erratic manner. The violations reported occurred on roadways throughout the town as well as on roadways that have been designated as ATV Routes in the town. Police issued a number of summary offence tickets for violations under the Motorized Snow Vehicles and All-Terrain Vehicles Act and Highway Traffic Act. The most common violations were for those having no registration or insurance,” said Garland.
The RCMP continue to keep an eye out for those motorists who might disregard the rules, but it can get tricky.
“Although many reports were received for those in violation while on the ATV Routes, officers received little information that could assist in identifying the drivers and the ATVs were not located upon a patrol. The RCMP continues to investigate all reports of ATV violations and encourages the public to gather as much detail as possible, when making a report to police, about the description of the ATV and the operator and or occupants,” said Garland.