A snowmobile races over a frozen river. One local group is calling on city officials for bylaw changes to make non-motorized trails free of motorized vehicles in all seasons. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)

Input sought on proposed trail plan

Delegate calls for trail designation changes

As the City of Whitehorse continues to seek input on its proposed new trail plan, one local group is calling on officials for bylaw changes to make non-motorized trails free of motorized vehicles in all seasons.

In a written submission presented at Whitehorse city council’s Oct. 5 meeting, Keith Lay, who heads up the Active Trails Whitehorse Association, argued the city should end the confusion he said exists with the term “non-motorized trail.”

“The city is currently accepting feedback on the 2020 draft trail plan,” Lay stated. “As such, this is the perfect time to ask city council to amend the now eight-year snowmobile bylaw to reflect the ATV bylaw, and prohibit snowmobile operators from using non-motorized trails, greenbelts and open spaces.”

Lay went on to note there’s only a select number of trails that are truly for non-motorized use throughout the year and outlined in the snowmobile bylaw.

“As a result, many trail users are under the mistaken belief that all non-motorized trails are free from motorized use in winter,” Lay wrote. “This creates confusion and may lead to user conflict.”

For any trail to be designated as non-motorized all year, the trail first has to be designated by the city as non-motorized with the snowmobile bylaw then requiring an amendment to add the trail to its list of non-motorized routes.

Lay argued the snowmobile bylaw should be amended so that snowmobiles would not be permitted on any trails designated as non-motorized thereby eliminating the need to add it to a list in the snowmobile bylaw.

“In fact, designating trails as non-motorized (summer and winter) would become unnecessary,” he said. “The only trails that would need to be designated would be those that accommodate both motorized and non-motorized users.”

The change would provide clarity, he said, and also protect greenbelts, open spaces and non-motorized trails.

He pointed out the proposed trail plan highlights the need for consistency in policies and bylaws.

“Changing the snowmobile bylaw as suggested would not stop motorized users including snowmobilers from asking the city to change the status of a non-motorized trail to that of a designated motorized trail,” Lay wrote.

While Lay provided his input via a written submission as a delegate to city council, others can also through the online feedback form the city has made available at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/COWtrailplandraft to respond to the proposed draft plan, which is also available on the city website.

At an earlier council and senior management roundtable, recommendations from the draft plan were highlighted with parks and community development manager Landon Kulych noting the focus of the plan is how to best manage the approximately 850 kilometres of trail within the city.

Among the recommendations in the draft plan would be the continued work to finish the remaining neighbourhood trail plans that were started out of the 2007 trail plan, ongoing integration of First Nations languages and traditional place names in partnership with local First Nations into trail signage and names, improved mapping along with printed copies of local trails and an etiquette guide aimed at reducing conflicts between trail users.

The draft plan also suggests the city explore a number of issues such as snow removal on trails and how electric mobility devices fit into trail use, though any action on those would depend on what comes out of looking at those issues and discussions with the public.

Residents have until Oct. 9 to provide input on the draft plan.

It’s expected a final plan document will come forward to council for adoption in late 2020.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks to media at a press conference about COVID-19 in Whitehorse on March 30. The Yukon government announced three new cases of COVID-19 in Watson Lake on Oct. 23. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three new COVID-19 cases identified in Watson Lake

The Yukon government has identified three locations in town where public exposure may have occurred

A pedestrian passes by an offsales sandwich board along Fourth Avenue in Whitehorse on Oct. 22. NDP MLA Liz Hanson raised concerns Oct. 21 in the legislature about increased hospitalizations due to alcohol consumption that correlate with an extension in the hours alcohol can be sold in the territory. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Alcohol-related hospitalizations rise after off-sales hours extended

Reduced hours for off-sale liquor establishments likely part of Liquor Act spring reforms

Tourism and Culture Minister Jeanie McLean (formerly Dendys) speaks during legislative assembly in Whitehorse on Nov. 27, 2017. The Yukon government has announced $2.8 million in tourism relief funding aimed at businesses in the accommodation sector that have already maxed out existing funds. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Tourism relief funding offers $2.8 million to hotels and overnight accommodations

$15 million in relief funding is planned for the tourism sector over the next three years

The Whitehorse sewage lagoons photographed in 2011. With new regulations for wastewater anticipated to be introduced by the federal government within the next decade, the City of Whitehorse may soon be doing some prep work by looking at exactly what type of pollutants are making their way into the city’s wastewater. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Pondering pollutants

City could spend $70,000 looking at what contaminents are in waste water

Most of Whitehorse Individual Learning Centre’s class of 2020 graduates. The former students were welcomed back and honoured by staff at the school on Oct. 14 with a personalized grad ceremony for each graduate. (Submitted)
Individual Learning Centre grads honoured

Members of the Whitehorse Individual Learning Centre’s class of 2020 were welcomed… Continue reading

Benjamin Munn, 12, watches the HPV vaccine in 2013. Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available to all Yukoners up to, and including, age 26. Currently the program is only available to girls ages nine to 18 and boys ages nine to 14. (Dan Bates/Black Press file)
HPV vaccine will be available to Yukoners up to, including, age 26

Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine will be available… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

COMMENTARY: Me and systemic racism

The view from a place of privilege

Today’s mailbox: Electricity and air travel

Letters to the editor published Oct. 23, 2020

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Irony versus Climate

Lately it seems like Irony has taken over as Editor-in-Chief at media… Continue reading

Evan Lafreniere races downhill during the U Kon Echelon Halloweeny Cross-Country Race on Oct. 16. (Inara Barker/Submitted)
Costumed bike race marks end of season

The U Kon Echelon Bike Club hosted its final race of the… Continue reading

Smartphone showing various applications to social media services and Google. (Pixabay photo)
National media calling for level playing field with Google, Facebook

In Canada, Google and Facebook control 80 per cent of all online advertising revenues

Education Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee, right, before question period at the Yukon legislative assembly in Whitehorse on March 7, 2019. The Yukon government announced Oct. 19 it has increased the honoraria rates for school council members. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Honoraria increased for school council members

Members of school councils throughout the territory could soon receive an increased… Continue reading

Most Read