Riders, to the staging area

The city's draft snowmobile bylaw will require riders to wear helmets, carry insurance and ferry their machines to staging areas. That last provision is sure to stir some controversy, said Coun. Betty Irwin.

The city’s draft snowmobile bylaw will require riders to wear helmets, carry insurance and ferry their machines to staging areas.

That last provision is sure to stir some controversy, said Coun. Betty Irwin.

“I think we’re going to get a lot of push-back with residential areas,” said Irwin. “It means people will have to furnish a trailer.”

The draft plan was presented to council Tuesday.

Bylaw services expects to meet opposition from both sides.

“It will be unpopular in many circles, and will not go far enough for others,” said David Pruden, bylaw services manager.

The bylaw radically changes current legislation.

Alongside the helmet and insurance requirements, owners will be required to register their snow machines and take a safety course.

As well, speed limits will be placed on trails and some trails will be made off limits. And there are provisions to protect environmentally sensitive areas.

The bylaw would make it illegal for snowmobiles to operate on roads in residential areas.

While Coun. Dave Stockdale was generally in support of the bylaw, he would like to see the minimum age restriction lowered to 14 from 16, provided the person could prove they could operate a snowmobile competently.

“Some 14-year-olds can drive better than some seniors,” he said.

But the city doesn’t have the ability to change the age requirement because it’s set out in the Motor Vehicles Act, said Pruden.

The bylaw should go further, banning the towing of people behind a sled and restrict the number of passengers a rider can carry, said local resident Keith Lay.

Others opposed the new measures.

Some of the provisions are “not reasonable,” said Mark Daniels, Klondike Snowmobile Association president.

“I want the city to take a holistic view of this, particularly the economics, said Daniels. “There are hundreds of jobs in the city linked to snowmobiles.”

The residential restrictions seemed a little unreasonable to Porter Creek resident Cam Koss.

“I don’t think there’s any communities North of 60 that don’t allow snowmobiles on city streets,” he said.

The bylaw will come back to council next week where each of the 13 recommendations will be considered separately.

Contact Josh Kerr at

joshk@yukon-news.com

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