Yukon News

Whitehorse council bans motorized vehicles on Whistle Bend trail

Sharon Nadeem Wednesday June 14, 2017

Mike Thomas/Yukon News

trails.jpg

Whitehorse city council voted June 12 to ban the use of motorized vehicles on Whistle Bend trails.

Whitehorse city council banned the use of motorized vehicles on the Whistle Bend perimeter trail at the urging of some of its residents June 12.

Six residents spoke at the city council meeting about the safety of the trail if it was to be shared by motorized and non-motorized users.

“The nine-foot wide walking trail is barely enough to get by people walking with a dog or a child. How are we supposed to share this trail with a motorized vehicle?” said Whistle Bend homeowner, Jefferson Olson.

The city designated the contentious trail as motorized multi-use in 2009. But city councillors and residents questioned the legitimacy of the designation.

Chris Antaya, a resident of Whistle Bend, said she did not even know the trail could be used by motorized vehicles. Coun. Dan Boyd said the designation was not clear and “convoluted, at best.”

The designation in 2009 was made before the new development in Whistle Bend that has brought in hundreds of new residents. Tim Brady and his wife bought a house on Eldorado Drive in May this year. He told councillors having a shared trail would detract the quality of life for him and his neighbours.

“When we purchased this lot we didn’t know our new home would be backing onto a motorized multi-use trail,” said Brady. He added they have never participated in any previous discussion or consultation on the trail.

Coun. Jocelyn Curteanu agreed it wasn’t fair to citizens who were purchasing homes in Whistle Bend under the assumption that the trail was non-motorized. She shared concerns about how the trail would affect the seniors expected to move in to Whistle Bend when the new care facility opens.

However, Mark Daniels, president of the Klondike Snowmobile Association, argued there was no evidence to suggest that motorized multi-use trails are unsafe. Daniels, who has extensive experience with trails in the Yukon, cautioned the council not to fall for the “myth that trails cannot be safely used by motorized and non-motorized users.”

“My concern is that safety is a red herring thrown about in trail use,” he said. “If people are concerned, then we should educate them and not fuel the myth.”

Julie Jai, another resident of Whistle Bend, said she understands that owners of snowmobiles, dirt bikes and quads need a place to use and enjoy trails as well. She suggested the use of Casca Boulevard, which is already designated as a motorized multi-use trail leading out of Whistle Bend.

Jai has been driving the push to make the Whistle Bend trail off limits to motorized vehicles and was delighted by council’s decision.

“I was so thrilled today to see so many people from the Whistle Bend community come out and explain how important this trail is to them,” she said. “I really think that the Whistle Bend perimeter trail is our community’s Millennium trail.”

The city council is yet to decide whether to bar motorized vehicles from the McCauley Creek Crossing Trail in Porter Creek. They are expected to revisit that trail’s designation in September after consultation with the task force and the Trails Greenways Committee.

Contact Sharon Nadeem at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

14 Comments

Mark wrote:
11:16am Sunday June 25, 2017

Since this decision was made there should be no old people on motor scooters allowed either. Rules are rules right? Politics nowadays is nothing more than apeasing ones own personal agenda.Stop catering to people who offer nothing to society except whining.

Groucho d'South wrote:
3:53pm Friday June 23, 2017

I see lots in whistle bend, really lots, of bad shady. the houses overlooking the big puddle with fenced backyards for example they are using city property and putting up rocks and stones and sticks and whatever else they can shimmy shammy together. it is wrong, CoW please look at that they are ruining that area for everyone else for their own private purposes

this is bananas wrote:
9:35am Monday June 19, 2017

so six NIMBYs messed this up for everyone, and seems echoed for the most part by most comments here.
-supporting “multi-use” does NOT mean you are pro-motorist.
-citing one dangerous rider as a rationale for banning all ATVs is akin to banning all cars on the road because of a few drunk drivers.
-there are already bylaws and guidelines that govern ATV use that specify how to responsibly share multi-use trails.
-all this will change will do is increase ate use on roads (to access nearest trail head)
-in my opinion, if you are complaining about the noise, for the brief ten seconds it passes your property is an absurd and self centred concern. seriously, get over it (and i say this as a homeowner that lives right beside a popular trail access point.

Max Mack wrote:
10:51pm Saturday June 17, 2017

Perhaps ATV users should sue CoW for the loss of use and enjoyment of the formerly multi-use trails? Perhaps a multi-million dollar law suit would wake them up?

Senior Walker wrote:
5:29pm Friday June 16, 2017

So true TJ:  “So, Council made the right decision in keeping this trail non-motorized.  But why was this even put to a debate?  It should be more than obvious that most folks prefer their neighborhood trails to be non-motorized for the sake of the environment, peace & quiet, and safety.  Why is the City allowing this challenge from motorized clubs for one neighborhood after another?  What a tiring waste of volunteer time.”

Its not over yet because one motorized group is very well organized and has 2 board members who sit on the city trails committee. They will perhaps be running for council the legislature soon.  The motion to ignore the task force recommendations came from one of these 2 trail committee members who are pro motorized and they also sat on the task force. Its astonishing that you can make recommendations as part of a task force and then make a motion to change the recommendations later as part of the city trail committee. So nice that council said enough is enough. And thanks Betty for calling it like it is. I am still very concerned that the city does not worry about conflict of interest or bias until people get upset and appear before council.

The bylaw actually says snow machines can use non-motorized trails so it may not be over yet. Hundreds of members of the group in question do not even use snow machines, they buy a membership for the discounts they get around town.  Only in Whitehorse will discounts at a few stores allow a group to control our trails.

Council seems to have made the right decision if its also non-motorized in winter but its not yet convincing until bylaws are changed.

T J wrote:
1:39pm Friday June 16, 2017

So, Council made the right decision in keeping this trail non-motorized.  But why was this even put to a debate?  It should be more than obvious that most folks prefer their neighborhood trails to be non-motorized for the sake of the environment, peace & quiet, and safety.  Why is the City allowing this challenge from motorized clubs for one neighborhood after another?  What a tiring waste of volunteer time.

bandit wrote:
12:33pm Friday June 16, 2017

To non-motorized trail user. I am not naïve and I do not think any responsible Adult or Child user would think we represent all users (by the way there are many responsible young riders) I think there should be some sort of study as to the volume of ATV/Snowmobile traffic in the area. Maybe a traffic counter? As I have said in the past, I have lived there for 2-1/2 years and it doesn’t seem to be a problem at all. I would much rather see ATVs on the trails than travelling on the streets to access trails.
To Dean Tower. The C.O.W. has only plowed the perimeter trail once in the spring. They only plow the main sidewalks. The only maintenance I have witnessed on the perimeter trail since I moved to WB has been the annual spring clearing. Until the gates were put up at every intersection The KSA brought their trail groomer around to make the trails easier to navigate once in awhile. The only other maintenance is from myself, at my own expense, I use my snow-blower to clear the trail from Bellingham Court to Chakawana and to the Perimeter trail for the sole benefit of myself and my neighbors. Now that it is designated non-motorized I may be risking a fine for clearing the trail. I guess everyone that is concerned this winter should walk around pushing a shovel because that is non-motorized unlike my snow-blower.

Salar wrote:
8:14am Friday June 16, 2017

No foot traffic designations would amount to the same mentality….think I’ll go mow down an 88 year old on the trails today said no one ever

non-motorized trail user wrote:
3:25am Friday June 16, 2017

@WhW has obviously never been run off a trail by some unidentifiable helmeted punk on an illegally loud ATV or snowmachine.  Many responsible adult users of motorized off-road machines are unbelievably naive to think they represent all off road users.  They are unable to police their ranks, and therefore laws must be made to affect all off road users because of their misbehaving children.

jean wrote:
2:30am Friday June 16, 2017

The CoW still perpetuates the myth that snowmobiles are somehow non-motorized and therefore permitted on trails designated as non-motorized.  The bylaws should apply to snowmobiles and ATVs equally.
Why do special interest groups have more influence than tax-paying residents?

What happened, Whitehorse? wrote:
3:30pm Thursday June 15, 2017

Trails are easily shared by motorized and non-motorized traffic. In most cases, motorized users are using trails close to neighbourhoods to access trails in the outdoors. Does anyone think they want to race around trails that are full of walkers and seniors? Of course not. It’s as unappealing to motorized users as it is for pedestrians.

A chance to share the space and allow people to police themselves has been lost.

Dean Tower wrote:
3:01pm Thursday June 15, 2017

My feelings are that paved trails which are admittedly designed for accessibility for elderly/handicapped etc. should be maintained year round for that purpose.  Any other sanctioned trails thoughout the city should be multi-use under the snowmobile association guidelines for trail use.  Which should be bylaws if they aren’t already, they are a good set of guidelines.  Perhaps the city should re-evaluate all it’s trail systems, it seems very confusing.  Maybe there only needs to be one designated trail that goes tthrough the city touching on all subdivisions for motorized use,  or perhaps allow motorized use on all trails with a very low speed limit.

seniors, kids and dogs wrote:
2:44pm Thursday June 15, 2017

Thank goodness for common sense—this trail is used by many seniors, parents with small children and people walking dogs. A 4x4, dirt bike, side by side trail needs to be a separate one. I personally don’t want to see my 88 year old grandfather who walks there with his dog be mowed down by 4 wheeler or dirt bike. This trail is wonderful for people with mobility issues (wheelchairs, walkers, canes) so keeping it non motorized is the right thing. I do think a motorized trail should be allocated, as it was in the original planning.

Alan wrote:
11:32am Thursday June 15, 2017

A small victory for people who want quiet trails near their homes.

Council should be asking themselves how they have created such a mess of the trail system in our “Wilderness City”.

Add a comment

The Yukon News welcomes your comments and insight. We encourage a healthy environment for debate that is inclusive, thoughtful and respectful.

The comments are moderated. Personal attacks, vulgarity, profanity, unsubstantiated allegations, hateful comments and incoherence will not be tolerated.

If you have a complaint regarding a comment or have a question please contact the web administrator at webadmin@yukon-news.com.