ATV committee’s deadline extended to spring

An all-party committee probing the safety and use of offroad vehicles will have until the spring to report back to the legislature.

An all-party committee probing the safety and use of offroad vehicles will have until the spring to report back to the legislature.

The committee was initially to report back by the end of the autumn sitting. But that won’t work, Environment Minister John Edzerza told the legislature Tuesday, because of the overwhelming public response the committee has received.

But that’s not the only reason the committee is behind schedule, noted the Liberals’ Don Inverarity.

The Yukon Party waited six months after the committee’s formation before it appointed Edzerza as chair. Had the government moved swiftly, the committee may have met its deadline, said Inverarity.

The committee’s work has also been hampered by Premier Dennis Fentie’s decision to recall the legislature one month early this autumn, said Inverarity.

For the committee’s work to be done, it’s important that MLAs “work as co-operatively as possible,” cautioned the NDP’s Steve Cardiff.

The committee was formed because of Cardiff’s longstanding calls for a helmet law for ATV and snowmobile users. But the committee has since become swept up into a public debate over what rules could help curb environmental damage caused by ATVs.

That issue is “very divisive,” noted Edzerza. “There will be some very tough decisions to be made down the road,” he said. “We’re not going to please everybody. That much I can guarantee.”

A survey circulated by the committee has received nearly 2,000 responses, Cardiff said in an interview. The committee’s also been asked to visit several communities to hold public meetings and to meet with a variety of pressure groups.