Mike Thomas/Yukon News file The City of Whitehorse’s snowmobiling bylaw was last updated in 1994.

Whistle Bend neighbourhood group says it’s neutral on motorized trails

Move follows meeting where residents opposed snowmobile exemption for perimeter trail

The president of the Whistle Bend Community Association says the board of the WBCA has not asked council to rescind designation of a trail in Whistle Bend.

“The WBCA board has no official, or unofficial, opinion about motorized vehicle use on Whistle Bend trails,” said Darrell Hookey, WBCA president, in an email early Wednesday morning. “Instead, we support the democratic process via an elected city council. The board’s efforts have always been toward facilitating respectful communication among all users of our trails so that a compromise can be found.”

The email came after five Whistle Bend residents appeared at the standing committees meeting April 3, to express concerns about snowmobile use on the Whistle Bend paved perimeter trail.

On June 12, council passed a motion designating the perimeter trail non-motorized. However, the city’s snowmobile bylaw provides an exemption that allows for snowmobile use on some trails in winter. This includes the perimeter trail.

Nancy Brady told council she doesn’t think the trail is wide enough to accommodate cyclists, runners, walkers and dg walkers as well as motorized vehicles.

She also said the trail is in a high-density area, noting that it passes the within 7.5 feet of the gate to her home on El Dorado Drive.

Brady said that during discussion of the designation last summer no mention was made of the bylaw exemption for snowmobiles on trails that have not been specifically designated sensitive.

She asked council to honour the motion of the bylaw, and either add Whistle Bend to the list of excluded areas in the snowmobile bylaw, or amend the snowmobile bylaw to classify snowmobiles as motor vehicles which are thereby not allowed on non-motorized trails.

In March, Doug Hnatiuk manager of parks and community development with the City of Whitehorse, said the city was working with the WBCA to administer an online survey, asking Whistle Bend residents what they want to see in terms of trail use.

At the time, he said the current designation of the trail wouldn’t change, but it was possible the perimeter trail could be included as an exemption in the snowmobile bylaw.

Residents can check the city’s website for updates on the survey.

Contact Amy Kenny at amy.kenny@yukon-news.com

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